BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (AP) – Michigan, number 5, started at the speed of night Friday night and never let it go.
That was all that coach John Beilein was hoping to see in Indiana.
The Wolverines defense was virtually impenetrable, the attack was balanced and they offered the coup de grace from the start. Ignas Brazdeikis scored 20 points, Zavier Simpson added 12 and, after scoring the first 17 points of the game, Michigan jumped for a 69-46 win.
"I do not think anyone realizes how envious you are about the situation where we've made such a start, how difficult it is to manage such a departure, because no matter what happens, there's nothing nothing better to get up so early. Nothing, said Beilein. "It's really good to handle that and let your kids persevere."
The Wolverines (18-1, 7-1 Big Ten) do not just win – they make it look easy.
Michigan has won two straight since their first loss, six against the Hoosiers and two in a row at Bloomington. The reason: Beilein's defense took full advantage of the troubled Hoosiers who lost six times in a row.
The Wolverines took a huge lead by forcing the Hoosiers to make 10 consecutive missed shots, leaving no points for more than seven minutes, not allowing a close-up and never allowing the Hoosiers (12-8, 3-6) to get closer. Sufficient to pose a serious threat at a busy evening, Chuck Crabb announced the seconds count of each possession at the south end of Assembly Hall, as the clock had been broken.
"Our team in general is soft, and we are also scared for some reason, and you can see how we played," said Archie Miller, Hoosiers coach. "The fight is not at the moment, and there is no confidence to take advantage of all the opportunities we have."
That was so ugly?
They first came together when Indiana scored his first points on two free throws from Durham with 12:57 left and again when Durham scored his first basket with a rest of 10:15 in the half. They led 33-18 at half-time, their lowest total of all half-games this season.
Indiana opened the second half with four consecutive baskets in the lineup, coming close to 38-29 over Phinisee's 3 with 16:47 left. But Michigan responded with a 12-3 push to reach 50-32 and the Hoosiers never came close.
"We were really good after that too," said Beilein. "Our defense has been so strong all night"
Juwan Morgan finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead Indiana.
Michigan: The Wolverines made a statement to Bloomington. Their suffocating defense is good enough to play another round in the Final Four and their balanced attack gives them plenty of options to make it difficult to defend.
Indiana: Another slow start condemned the Hoosiers. Miller tries desperately to mix and match the queues to find a third compliant scorer.
The Hoosiers honored the late Jimmy Rayl with a moment of silence before learning.
Rayl passed away Sunday at the age of 77. All-American was named the most valuable player of the Hoosiers in 1962. He still holds the match record for the only game of the school with 56 points, which he did twice – in January 1962 and in February 1963.
Michigan: Jon Teske had 11 points and Charles Matthews had 10 points and 11 rebounds. … Simpson had five assists, giving him 299 in career. … Beilein had only one win to match Johnny Orr's record: Big Ten (120). … The Wolverines had turnovers.
Indiana: Fired at 27.6% of the competition, the lowest of the season, scoring 3 of 20 vs. 3 and 11 out of 20 in the free throw line. … Morgan also had four blocks and two interceptions while Romeo Langford had nine points and five rebounds. … Morgan, Langford and Justin Smith were the only players with more than two baskets. Indiana has scored less than 60 points in three of its last four games.
They said it
Michigan: "We just want to stay focused, stay on the next game, do the things we can control, play together and we'll be in a great position," said Simpson.
Indiana: "I do not think a team has 23 points better than us," Morgan said. "I think we have a lot more fighting in us than that. I think there is a lot of talent in this locker room. I am angry about it. I know all the guys in this room are. … everyone is embarrassed.
Michigan: Will return home Tuesday to host rival Ohio State.
Indiana: Rutgers visit Wednesday.