The streak is finally over. On Thursday night, for the first time since 1995, Michigan beat Illinois at Assembly Hall. The Wolverines' 13-game losing streak at Illinois dated back to the final year of Fab Five members Ray Jackson and Jimmy King, and fellow Fab Five member Jalen Rose was in attendance to call the game on Thursday for ESPN. The 72-61 victory means Michigan is now 22-8 on the season and is still alive in the Big Ten title race.
Michigan never trailed in this game and led comfortably for most of the night. The game was tied with about 11 minutes left in the first half and Michigan went on a run to take an eight-point lead at halftime. The Fighting Illini quickly made things close in the second half and had a chance to tie the game or take the lead multiple times. They just couldn't close the gap, however. Michigan managed to maintain the lead and then pulled away again when Tim Hardaway Jr. got hot and scored 11 straight points for the Wolverines. Good free throw shooting -- Michigan was 21-of-23 from the line -- allowed the Wolverines to close out the victory.
Hardaway Jr.'s resurgence was very nice to see for Michigan fans. He has really been struggling this season, and he looked like the Hardaway Jr. of last season on Thursday night, scoring 25 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 shooting from behind the arc. He also grabbed 11 rebounds for his third career double-double.
Trey Burke was once again outstanding for Michigan as he continued his campaign to be the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Burke scored 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting and also had three rebounds and five assists. During the game, he passed Gary Grant to set the record for the most assists in one season by a freshman in Michigan basketball history.
With the victory, Michigan is one win on Sunday against Penn State and a loss by Michigan State to Ohio State away from clinching a share of the Big Ten title. It would be Michigan's first Big Ten title in basketball since 1986, so you can bet the Wolverines will be cheering hard for Ohio State if they win on the road against the Nittany Lions.
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