- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Over the past couple of weeks Illinois had used tough defense and 3-point shooting to win three straight and revive its postseason hopes.

The Illini had gone four straight games without letting an opponent score 50 points. And they’d hit at least eight 3-pointers in each win.

On Tuesday night, No. 12 Michigan turned the tables on the Illini.

The Wolverines (22-7, 14-3 Big Ten) buried Illinois with 16 3-pointers on the way to an 84-53 blowout and the Big Ten championship.


Michigan shot 70 percent from 3-point range and hit 29 of its 51 shots from the field, 56.9 percent.

Illinois (17-13, 6-11) , coach John Groce said, ran into a “perfect storm,” one he compared to LeBron James’ 61-point game on Monday night.

“He said he felt like he was throwing a golf ball in an ocean,” Groce said. “That’s what it was like tonight.”

Nik Stauskas scored 24 points, hitting a career-best seven 3 pointers. He said Michigan didn’t want to share the championship with anybody, something it did in 2012.

“We came with that mindset, this was our championship and we wanted to win it,” he said.

Dialed in or not, Michigan coach John Beilein said he didn’t see that kind of shooting performance coming against the Illini.

“I haven’t seen that in practice even,” Beilein said.

Michigan had the game in hand by halftime with a 52-30 lead. The Wolverines hit five straight 3-pointers midway through the half to break the game open. The 15-point run turned widened Michigan’s 20-17 lead to a comfortable 32-17.

Caris LeVert added 15 points for Michigan and Glenn Robinson III had 13.

Almost lost in the shooting was a quietly dominant performance on the boards by the Wolverines, outrebounding Illinois 33-23. Jon Horford led Michigan with 10 boards.

The Illini had won three straight. The loss was their worst at home in the 51-year history of the arena formerly known as the Assembly Hall and now called the State Farm Center.

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