Michigan is really good at taking that little glimmer of hope you're feeling and choking it to death.— TheChampaignRoom.com (@Champaign_Room) January 28, 2013
That may be what Michigan does better than anybody else in the Big Ten. The Illini were never truly in this game, though things did get off to a nice start. Still, once Michigan finally took a real lead of 13-7 seven minutes into the game they spent the rest of the night killing hope.
Two minutes to go in the first half and you've cut the lead to 28-25? Hey, that's not bad considering how poorly you're shooting and how well Michigan is playing and OH DAMN IT Michigan just went on a 7-2 run to close the half and head to the locker room up eight.
Cut Michigan's lead down to four points before the first timeout of the second half? All right, the crowd's back in it and we've got some momen...son of a bitch Michigan just went on an 11-2 run to put you down 52-39 before the next television timeout.
Over and over again the Illini would give a hint of climbing back into this game and over and over again Michigan would kick them right back down.
There's a reason this team is going to be ranked #1 on Monday and we just saw it first hand for two hours at Assembly Hall.
-- The Illini started the night 3-of-6 from three-point land, but did not finish nearly as well. After that the Illini made only 3 more treys in 21 attempts. Woof.
-- Speaking of missing threes, hey there, Tyler Griffey. Griffey went 0-for-3 from deep on the night and is now 0-for his last-20, not making a three since January 2 against Purdue. However, Tyler also played really hard tonight. It's just all the effort he put into the game only brought 4 points and 2 rebounds.
-- No encore from D.J. Richardson. After going off for 30 against Nebraska D.J. disappeared tonight, making only 4 of his 15 shots (2-for-9 from deep) and finishing with 12 points. Of course, at least he has a 30-point game to fall back on. That's more than most everybody else can say.
-- Brandon Paul. Sigh. Brandon led the team in scoring with 15 points but he also had more turnovers (5) than rebounds (4), assists (2), steals (2) or blocks (1). And it felt like every single one of his turnovers hurt. This isn't an unofficial state, but I believe Michigan scored 30 points off his 5 turnovers.
-- Nnanna Egwu finished with 11 rebounds. That's two straight games in double digits. Most of them were empty rebounds that occurred when we were out of the game and just jacking shit up, but I feel like I should mention something positive in this recap.
-- Joe Bertrand was invisible most of the night. JoeTales finished with 4 points and 4 fouls with just a rebound, an assist and a steal. We're not beating Michigan if Joe doesn't give us help off the bench.