Men's basketball | Michigan 71, South Dakota State 56: Guard gets an assist
With Burke having bad shooting night, Robinson and Hardaway pick up slack to carry Michigan
The highly anticipated matchup between guards Trey Burke (3) and Nate Wolters didn’t live up to its billing.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The only scare Michigan received in winning its first NCAA Tournament game occurred midway through the second half when point guard Trey Burke crashed to the floor with an audible thud.
Burke, a national player of the year candidate from Columbus, fell hard on his back while grabbing a second-half rebound last night, causing the sophomore to briefly leave Michigan’s 71-56 victory over South Dakota State.
“I hit my back, my elbow and a little bit of my head,” said Burke, the Big Ten player of the year. “My elbow is a little sore and my tailbone is a little sore, but I’m fine.”
Burke made only 2 of 12 shots, missing all five of his three-pointers, but it didn’t matter because teammates Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III combined for 42 points as the No. 4-seeded Wolverines (27-7) rolled after leading the No. 13-seeded Jackrabbits (25-10) by only four at halftime.
“I knew my shot wasn’t falling, so I just tried to contribute in other ways,” said Burke, who had seven assists. “We had some hot hands tonight, and my job as point guard is to go to those guys.”
Hardaway made 5 of 7 three-pointers for 21 points. Robinson added 21 while making all three of his three-pointers after totaling one in the previous 10 games.
Besides Burke, the Wolverines made 26 of their 43 shots in the South Regional second-round round game against the Summit League champions.
Michigan also received a lift from forward Mitch McGary, who chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds, and the Wolverines defense caused the Jackrabbits to miss 15 of their 19 three-point attempts, including an 0-of-5 showing by star guard Nate Wolters.
Wolters, averaging 22.7 points, scored only 10 in his final college game, which was previewed as a highly anticipated matchup with Burke.
Burke didn’t score in the game’s first 17:12 and finished with a season-low six points, far below his average of 19.2. Still, he smiled afterward because the Wolverines advanced to the third round after being upset in their first game last year, when they were also a fourth seed, by Ohio University.
“At the end of the day, I want to win and help this team accomplish its goals,” Burke said.
The Wolverines led 49-41 with 11:01 remaining when Burke collided with teammate Jon Horford while grabbing a rebound and crashed to the floor at The Palace at Auburn Hills.
Burke laid on the floor for a couple of minutes while being tended to by a team trainer, who then walked him to Michigan’s locker room. The Northland graduate returned to the bench and re-entered the game after missing 1:28 of play.
“It was a hard fall,” Burke said. “I was shocked, but the good thing is I never went unconscious.”