Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)
Score: #3 Michigan 71, Rutgers 64
Records: U-M (15-1, 10-1 B1G), Rutgers (12-8, 8-8 B1G)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Feb. 21 — at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio), 1 p.m.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Sophomore forward Franz Wagner scored a game-high 20 points to help lift the No. 3-ranked University of Michigan men’s basketball team to a 71-64 victory over Rutgers on Thursday night (Feb. 18) at Crisler Center.
Wagner also grabbed seven rebounds, dished out three assists and had one steal. The 20-point outing is the fourth of his career. Mike Smith also had a double-digit night with 12 points, while Isaiah Livers filled the stat sheet with seven points, six rebounds, three blocks and three assists.
Michigan (15-1, 10-1 Big Ten) dominated the glass, outrebounding Rutgers, 40-27, with a team-high eight boards from freshman Hunter Dickinson.
Michigan put together its first run of the game 10 minutes into the first half, scoring seven straight, including a big dunk from Austin Davis to take a 16-13 advantage with 9:18 left in the opening stanza. Back-to-back triples from Smith and Brandon Johns Jr. pushed the Wolverines to a 22-15 lead as the U-M defense kept Rutgers (12-8, 8-8 Big Ten) from scoring a basket for more than five and a half minutes.
The teams matched baskets over the next four minutes with the Maize and Blue holding a 33-26 lead at the final media break with 2:30 left in the half. The Wolverines pushed the lead to nine on a last-second drive from Wagner to end the half with Michigan up, 37-28.
Wagner led the Wolverines in the first half with nine points and five rebounds, and Livers had three rejections to go along with four points, three rebounds and two assists.
U-M set the pace out of the halftime break, going on an 8-0 run and taking a 45-31 lead with 15:42 to play. Michigan could not find a field goal for more than six and a half minutes, and Rutgers got within 12, 57-45, with just over five minutes to play.
The Scarlet Knights battled back to within eight at 63-55, thanks to a 6-0 run while Michigan suffered another long stretch without a field goal, heading into the final minute of play. Coming out of a Rutgers timeout, Wagner hit a triple that locked up U-M’s fourth straight victory.
With the win, the Wolverines improved to 14-0 all-time against Rutgers.
The Wolverines will be back in action Sunday (Feb. 21) when they take on No. 4 Ohio State in a top-five showdown in Columbus, Ohio. The game is set for 1 p.m. and will be broadcast live on CBS.