The Michigan Wolverines did what they needed to do in order to keep hopes alive for a share of the Big Ten regular season title -- they defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 71-65 and now need the Ohio State Buckeyes to hand Michigan State their second straight loss. A Spartans' loss would mean a Big Ten share between the intrastate rivals.
The Wolverines were able to extend their 11-point halftime lead to 17 with a little over nine minutes left in the game. That's when sophomore guard Jermaine Marshall started to take control for Penn State and get them back into the game. Marshall scored nine straight points -- and 14 of his game-high 27 in the final nine minutes -- to pull the Nittany Lions to as close as four in the final two minutes, but that was as close as they'd get.
After shooting 70-percent in the first half, the Wolverines only shot 11-for-22 in the second half. Trey Burke was Michigan's leading scorer with 19 points.
Now, Michigan will be watching the OSU/MSU game to see if they'll receive a slice of the Big Ten title.
If Michigan is going to grab a share of the Big Ten regular season championship, they need a win over Penn State and some help from their bitter rival Ohio State against their other bitter rival Michigan State. Michigan is doing their part through 20 minutes on Sunday, leading the Nittany Lions 39-28 at the half.
Penn State started strong, taking an 11-7 lead into the first break and a 17-16 lead into the second timeout, but it was all Michigan from there. The Wolverines made their next eight shots in the midst of a 20-4 run over the next eight minutes.
Michigan shot the lights out in the entire half, hitting all but six of their shots for a 70-percent mark. They were also 70-percent from beyond the arc, hitting seven of ten. They held Penn State to 36-percent shooting, but eight turnovers allowed the Nittany Lions to hang around.
Evan Smotrycz leads all scorers with 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting. He also has three rebounds.