The Wolverine

April 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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28 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2019 a couple of times he tried to do too much in front of several family mem- bers in his hometown. The difference he made as a de- fender gave greater appreciation to just how valuable he is to this team. The Hawkeyes had no room to move, or even breathe, without Matthews there to disrupt them. "He was gassed, I'll tell you that," a happy Beilein said after the game. "But he played great defense. He's such a big difference not only if he's guarding on the ball, but off the ball he's our best. … I guess he would be a centerfielder in baseball, a safety in football. "He directs everybody, and that was an obvious issue that we had, that we didn't have that voice in the background telling everybody who to take and guarding his own man without help." The next day proved even easier. The Golden Gophers, playing their third game in three days after beating Penn State March 14 and upsetting No. 2 seed Purdue a day later, seemed tired and not at all happy to be there. The Wolverines ran them out of the gym, Livers leading the way with 21 points in 22 minutes, hitting 4 of 6 from three-point range. He scored 17 of Michigan's 19 points during a sec- ond-half stretch that pushed the lead above 30, getting the starters some much-needed rest. The transition game was working, too. "They're starting to finally under- stand the correlation between getting a stop and scoring points," Beilein said after the game. It worked at times against Michigan State, too — just not enough. They got a new lease on postseason life, and what many thought was a favorable NCAA draw. That left them ready to take another run at the Final Four, making their disappointment short lived. ❑ Michigan's Record 10-Game Big Ten Tournament Win Streak Michigan set a record when the Wolverines won its first two Big Ten Tournament games, extending their win streak to 10 straight, dating back two years before losing to Michigan State in the final. Here's a game-by-game look at the streak: March 9, 2017: Michigan players and coaches survived a plane accident, hopped on another plane to Washington, D.C., the following day and beat Illinois 75-55 in their practice jerseys in a first-round game. Point guard Derrick Walton led U-M with 19 points. March 10, 2017: Forward Zak Irvin made huge plays down the stretch and scored 13 points in 45 minutes to help U-M knock off No. 1 seed Purdue 74-70 in overtime. Forward D.J. Wilson added a game-high 26 points. March 11, 2017: The Wolverines slugged it out with Minnesota in a high- scoring semifinal, pulling away late for an 84-77 win. Walton notched 29 points and nine assists in the victory. March 12, 2017: U-M separated from Wisconsin in the second half, outscoring the Badgers 38-24 in the stanza en route to a 71-56 win and their first Big Ten Tournament title since 1998. Walton had 22 points, seven assists and six boards. March 1, 2018: The Wolverines rallied late and overcame poor shooting from three-point range (3 of 19) and the line (18 of 32) to force overtime and pull out a 77-71 win over Iowa in New York City. Wing Charles Matthews led the way with 16 points, and five others had at least nine. March 2, 2018: Guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 21 points and center Moritz Wagner 20 (with 13 rebounds) to lead the Wolverines past No. 4 seed Nebraska 77-58 and into the semifinals. March 3, 2018: U-M handled No. 2 Michigan State, winning for a second time by double digits. Wagner, Abdur-Rahkman and point guard Zavier Simpson all scored 15 points in the 75-64 victory. March 4, 2018: Wagner scored 17 points and Jon Teske enjoyed his best game to date in a Michigan uniform to lead Michigan to the title with a 75-66 triumph over No. 8 Purdue. The Boilermakers had beaten U-M twice in the regular season. March 15, 2019: U-M routed Iowa 74-53 to advance to the semifinals in Chi- cago. Freshman Ignas Brazdeikis totaled 15 points, while Teske had a double- double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. March 16, 2019: Forward Isaiah Livers scored 21 points, making 4 of 6 triples, in a 76-49 semifinal blowout of Minnesota, an upset winner over No. 2 seed Purdue. — Chris Balas Forward Isaiah Livers' 21 points led the Wolverines to a 76-49 blowout of Minnesota in this year's Big Ten semifinals, giving the Wolverines a league-record 10 straight wins in conference tournament play. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL Freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis "I definitely feel like we'll be prepared for the NCAA Tour- nament. We've been through it all this season. We've just got to stay composed at all times and just give it our all, every second."

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