BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Trey Burke scored 27 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 25 to power third-ranked Michigan to an 81-66 victory over West Virginia Saturday night in the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Burke and Hardaway took control of things immediately by giving the Wolverines a quick 11-2 lead and forcing West Virginia coach Bob Huggins to call timeout just 1:58 into the game.
The Wolverines (11-0) built their lead to 15 at 19-4 on a Burke follow-up basket and led 25-9 before the Mountaineers scored six straight points to cut the lead to 10. Probably West Virginia’s best stretch of basketball came during a five-minute span midway through the first half with three freshmen – Terry Henderson
, Eron Harris
and Volodymyr Gerun
– on the floor.
Harris nailed a 3 from the top of the key to begin a 10-0 West Virginia run that trimmed Michigan’s lead to five, 32-27, after a Henderson 3 from the corner with 4:22 left. From there, though, West Virginia managed just one field goal over the last four minutes of the half as the Wolverines scored nine out of the remaining 14 points to take an 11-point lead into the locker room.
Burke and Hardaway picked right up where they left off at the beginning of the second half to help Michigan get an 18-point lead after the Mountaineers lost track of Hardaway on the wing for a 3 to make it 52-34.
"We didn't do a very good job on Trey Burke and a lot of people don't," said Huggins. "You look at Trey Burke's numbers and the reason Trey Burke is 12 for 16 (shooting) and Hardaway is 7 for 12 is because we didn't let those other guys catch the ball, so it ended up just being ball screens or clear outs for those two guys. And we turned both of those guys loose too much to their right hand - they both finish better with their right hand - and we just didn't do a very good job of that."
During a 10-minute stretch when West Virginia could make just two field goals – a Juwan Staten
pull-up and a Gary Browne
jumper – the Mountaineers were able to hang around at the free throw line until Keaton Miles
busted a 3 from the corner to cut Michigan’s lead to 12, 65-53.
Another Henderson 3 from the corner, a Staten free throw and a Staten steal and dunk reduced West Virginia’s deficit to eight with 5:15 left, forcing Wolverine coach John Beilein to call timeout.
Following the timeout, Beilein made sure the ball was back in Burke’s hands and the guard was able to find Jordan Morgan for a close basket to end West Virginia’s run.
The Mountaineers converted just one field goal over the remaining 4:31 in falling for the fifth time in nine games this season.
"As crazy as it is, and as bad as everyone thinks we shoot it, we almost shoot it better from 3 than we do from 2," said Huggins. "You take away the uncontested layups we get off of our defense and it's about a wash."
After shooting 12 of 22 in the first half, West Virginia ended the game 20 of 52 for 38 percent. Michigan hit 28 of 50 from the floor, including 7 of 21 from 3-point distance.
"I thought we shot it better today," said Huggins. "Six of 21 is not very good (from 3-point range) but I thought we took some stupid shots at the end trying to catch up too quick."
Henderson scored a season-high 23 for West Virginia, while Staten chipped in with 12 and Harris came off the bench to contribute 10. The Mountaineers’ guards scored 57 of the team’s 66 points.
"We'll win; we've won before and we'll win again," said Huggins. "We've got to continue to guard better and we've got to continue to rebound the ball better.
"We've played a very competitive schedule and we've had games where we couldn't make a free throw or make a shot and we lose and we shouldn't lose, now we've got to go and get some that maybe some people think we can't get," said Huggins. "We've got time now. We don't start school again until Jan. 14 so now we can get in and really work."
The Mountaineers made the trip to New York without junior center Aaric Murray
West Virginia will return to the Coliseum on Dec. 19 to face Oakland in a game that will tip off at 9 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPNU.