No. 4 Michigan wins NIT Season Tip-Off with impressive 71-57 win over Kansas State
NEW YORK -- Tim Hardaway Jr. had never been to New York before this week.
He may want to go back sometime soon.
The Michigan junior poured in a game-high 23 points to go along with 7 rebounds and the fourth-ranked Wolverines blasted Kansas State, 71-57, to claim the 2012 NIT Season Tip-Off championship at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Hardaway was named the tournament's most outstanding player. The only rough moment for him came late in the game, when he was forced to leave after taking a bump to the head. Team doctors said following the game that Hardaway passes his concussion tests, and was doing 'fine.'
For Michigan (5-0), the tournament victory was the program's first holiday tournament title since capturing the 1997 Puerto Rico tip-off crown -- a championship that was later wiped out by NCAA sanctions.
Technically, Michigan's last holiday tournament win came in 1988-89 when the Wolverines won the Maui Invitational. They, of course, finished that season by winning the NCAA Tournament.
After holding just a five-point halftime lead against Kansas State on Friday, the Wolverines jolted the Wildcats with a 20-6 start to open the second half, leading by double digits the rest of the way.
Michigan point guard Trey Burke finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Freshman Glenn Robinson III finished with 9 points and 12 rebounds, while Nik Stauskas added 10 points off the bench.
Burke and Hardaway were both honored as members of the all-tournament team.
-- Hardaway was obviously the man for Michigan all night long. The junior wing did it at both ends of the floor, showing off the all-around confidence he's developed in his game. He cut to the basket, hit jump shots and rebounded at the other end. A terrific end to a superb two-game stint in New York for him.
-- Michigan was able to get extended minutes for backup point guard Spike Albrecht in a real situation Friday, as Burke was saddled with two fouls toward the latter half of the first. Albrecht hung tough, and Michigan entered the half with a five-point lead.
--- Glenn Robinson III was all over the glass again for Michigan, and again, most of it seemed effortless. He finished with 9 points and 12 rebounds -- and Michigan rarely ever called a play for him.
-- Beilein played a ton of players Friday, getting 10 men into the game early in the first half. Jon Horford saw some extended run in the second half, and looked good for stretches -- finishing with 6 points and 3 rebounds.
-- It was a rough first half for Burke, one of the quietest he's ever had at Michigan. The sophomore point guard didn't attempt a shot in 13 minutes before heading to the bench with two fouls at the six-minute mark. He had two assists and two turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
-- The only problem Hardaway had was when he took a knee to the head under the basket with less than four minutes to play. He spent a few minutes on the ground before being helped off the floor. He eventually returned to the court and received a loud ovation for his trouble.
ISSUE OF THE DAY: FINAL VERDICT
Michigan ended its holiday tournament drought in impressive fashion, and more than held its own on the glass once again -- out-rebounding Kansas State, 42-30.
Michigan's biggest test of the preseason comes Tuesday when the Wolverines welcome No. 16 North Carolina State. How confident are you that the Wolverines can keep their winning ways after an impressive NIT win.