CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Maverick Morgan scored 16 points, leading Illinois to a dominating 85-69 win over Michigan on Wednesday night in Big Ten men’s basketball.
Illinois (12-5, 2-2 Big Ten) changed up its lineup after its 96-80 loss to Indiana on Saturday, and the improvements showed as six players finished in double figures.
The Wolverines had a 4:30 field-goal scoring drought and the Illini put together a 17-2 to close the first half for a 49-36 halftime.
Both teams shot better than 60 percent in the first half, but the Illini were even better in the second, making 17 of 21 shots. They finished 9-of-14 from 3-point range. Michigan cooled off to 45 percent in the second half but finished 7 of 14 behind the arc.
Kipper Nichols had his strongest performance of the season, coming off the bench for 13 points and eight rebounds, helping the Illini to a 30-17 rebounding advantage. Illinois outscored Michigan 28-9 off the bench.
DJ Wilson led Michigan (11-6, 1-3) with 19 points and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman added 14 points.
Michigan: John Beilein’s team couldn’t sneak away with a win that it needed to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee. Michigan will need to rebound quickly with red-hot Nebraska coming into town Saturday.
Illinois: The Illini won a game they needed to win for their NCAA Tournament hopes to stay alive. A home loss against a fellow bubble team wouldn’t look good come Selection Sunday.
Illinois will try to avenge an earlier loss, hosting Maryland on Saturday.