Wolverines are 3-0 in B10, edge Nebraska 71-70

11:49 PM, Jan 9, 2014   |    comments
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LINCOLN, Neb. (Detroit Free Press) - Shooters apparently love the new Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Both Michigan and Nebraska's offenses ripped the nets all night Thursday, in a race to see which team would miss last.

Fortunately for the Wolverines, who shot 62%, it was Nebraska, which couldn't convert three chances in the final few seconds as the Wolverines held on for the 71-70 win.

The last offensive score came from Michigan freshman Derrick Walton Jr., whose fierce drive over Leslee Smith gave Michigan a one-point lead at 71-70 with 21.8 seconds left.

But he opened the door for Nebraska by missing the and-one chance, where Nebraska stat Terran Petteway missed a scoop and then a few putbacks rimmed off.

The teams traded explosive baskets in the final minutes, with a Nik Stauskas improbable leaner and later a Glenn Robinson III steal and dunk.

But each time Petteway had an answer.

Robinson led the Wolverines (11-4, 3-0 Big Ten) with 19 points and Stauskas found a late rhythm to add 12.

Nebraska fell to 8-7 and 0-3 in the Big Ten, losing their Big Ten home opener in the new arena.

Every time one team pulled ahead, the other would rally, never separating by more than six points on either side. Michigan had two runs at pulling away in the second half but neither time could extend the margin.

Michigan made its last second half run to pull ahead with an 11-2 run, running it mostly through Stauskas' hands. The first two came on interior dishes to Jordan Morgan for layups, then a few shot of his own creation.

But the lead that stretched to five at 59-54 with seven minutes to play was bound to shrink and it did, with the Huskers surging back to tie the game at 63 with 4 ½ minutes to play.

U-M coach John Beilein insisted this team will need contributions from everyone and apparently Morgan was listening.

Despite having to leave for a few minutes in the second half with an apparent injury in his midsection, he wasn't fazed, scoring off the two dishes from Stauskas to grab the lead on his way to a season high 15 points.

Michigan struggled in the first 10 minutes of the second half, hapless on defense as Nebraska put an 11-2 run on the Wolverines, spreading the ball around, getting to the basket.

The game was defense-optional to start the second half as both teams were smoking at over 58% in the first eight minutes.

In a first half that featured seven leads changes and five ties, Nebraska did all it could to grab control of the game in its first Big Ten home game in the sparkling new arena.

But Michigan was able to match with Robinson looking every bit the NBA player with smooth jumpers with a hand in his face for nine points.

The Wolverines turned eight Nebraska turnovers into 12 points and stayed close by shooting an impressive 57% from the field, a striking number for a road gym they had never seen until Thursday.

They even "shut down" Nebraska's leading scorer Terran Petteway, who had only two points at the break after sitting eight minutes in foul trouble.

And Michigan had its own bit of magic.

Instead of conceding after missing the rebound with 36 seconds remaining and surrendering the layup, Walton raced up-court and dropped a bomb from beyond the mid stripe - nearly 50 feet from the basket -- that swished for the 33-30 halftime lead.

For the second straight game it was a strong first half for Michigan center Jordan Morgan, with seven points including working the low block and finishing around the rim.

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