ANN ARBOR—Trey Burke raised his eyebrows in disbelief when asked about Michigan’s most remarkable stat of the night.
“We only had two turnovers as a team?” Burke said.
The top-ranked Wolverines were nearly flawless at the start Wednesday night, and they went on to an easy 68-46 victory over Northwestern.Burke had 18 points and eight assists in Michigan’s first game since taking over the top spot in the AP poll for the first time since the 1992-93 season. The Wolverines (20-1, 7-1 Big Ten) made 10 of their first 11 shots and went the entire first half without a turnover. They didn’t commit a foul, either, until the final minute of the half. Michigan’s two turnovers for the game equaled a national low for any team this season.
“There’s been times we had two turnovers … in the first minute,” coach John Beilein said. “We’ll take it, and we’ll move on.”
The Wolverines can now prepare for Saturday night’s showdown at No. 3 Indiana. Michigan fans began chanting “Beat the Hoosiers!” toward the end of Wednesday’s game. Michigan played without forward Jordan Morgan, who sprained his right ankle last weekend. Jon Horford started in Morgan’s place and finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Although NU also shot well at the beginning, the Wolverines were relentless. Some of their points came easily, such as an alley-oop from Burke to Glenn Robinson III in transition. But Michigan was also sharp from the outside. Nik Stauskas made a 3-pointer and Robinson added a layup, causing Wildcats coach Bill Carmody to call the first of two early timeouts. Stauskas added another 3 to give the Wolverines a 15-9 lead, and Michigan led by as many as 16 later in the half. It was 36-21 at halftime. The Wolverines didn’t have any turnovers until 6-foot-10 freshman Mitch McGary tried to start a fast break himself by dribbling up the court and lost the ball with less than 12 minutes left.