CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Michigan clinched its first outright Big Ten regular-season championship since 1986 on Tuesday night with a dominant performance.
Guard Nik Stauskas drilled seven 3-pointers and scored a game-high 24 points as the 12th-ranked Wolverines never trailed en route to an 84-53 blowout of Illinois at the State Farm Center.
Guard Caris LeVert added 15 points and forward Glenn Robinson III scored 13 for Michigan (22-7, 14-3), which took a sellout crowd of 16,618 out of this one quickly by averaging 1.73 points on 30 first-half possessions.
The Wolverines wrapped up the top seed for the Big Ten tournament last Saturday by defeating Minnesota but did not play like a team with nothing at stake except for improving its NCAA Tournament seed. Michigan tied a season high by drilling 16 of 23 3-pointers and finished the game shooting 56.9 percent from the field.
Junior guard Rayvonte Rice scored 16 points and freshman guard Kendrick Nunn added 14 for the Fighting Illini (17-13, 6-11), who entered with a three-game winning streak and harbored long-shot hopes of an NCAA at-large bid.
Instead, Illinois trailed by double figures in the final 28:33 of the mismatch as the Wolverines beat the Illini for the sixth straight time.
Michigan wasted no time taking control, scoring at will against an Illinois defense that held its last four opponents below 50 points.
Robinson started the carnage with a driving layup and the Wolverines never let up. They led 16-11 at the first TV timeout, scoring on seven of their first nine possessions, and were only warming up.
Starting with a 3-pointer by LeVert at the 11:47 mark, Michigan sank eight of its last nine long-range attempts. The lead grew to 36-17 with 6:51 remaining, even though Fighting Illini coach John Groce used two timeouts in a 47-second span in an attempt to cool the Wolverines off.
The half ended in fitting fashion as Stauskas nailed a 25-footer from the right wing as the horn sounded, giving Michigan a 52-30 advantage.
NOTES: Illinois has sank at least eight 3-pointers in its last three games after doing so just four times in the first 26 games. … Michigan entered the game averaging just 14.7 fouls per game, the fewest in Division I. It was second last season at 12.7. … Fighting Illini G Kendrick Nunn was named Freshman of the Week in the Big Ten for the second consecutive week. Nunn averaged 10.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists last week in wins over Nebraska and Michigan State, making 5 of 8 3-pointers.
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