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Michigan Narrowly Defeats Northwestern in Big Ten Matchup

A game filled with lead changes ends in the advantage of the Michigan Wolverines.

The Northwestern Wildcats men's basketball team showed moments of greatness against a strong Michigan Wolverines team but ultimately fell short by a score of 72–70. The loss was the third consecutive for Northwestern and the seventh loss in eight games.

The game was extremely close from the tip, with the Wildcats matching pretty much every Wolverine score, but they could not break through and grab a lead until near the halfway point of the half. This came off of a three point shot from junior center Ryan Young that gave the Wildcats a 17–16 edge. Michigan quickly grabbed the lead back on the next possession and would not surrender it for the remainder of the half, although Northwestern continued to keep the score close, and the two teams entered halftime with a score of 34–31.

Michigan came out of the half strong, gradually extending a lead until it peaked at 11 with a 48–37 lead with 17:10 remaining. The Wildcats began to chip away at the lead, utilizing a 14–3 run to tie the game at 51 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Michigan responded by retaking the lead 53–51 and then again at 55–53, but a clutch three pointer from senior guard Ryan Greer gave the Wildcats a 56–55 lead, the team's first in nearly 30 minutes of game time. The Wildcats would continue with a 9–0 run that gave them their biggest lead of the game at 62–55 with just over five minutes remaining in the game. 

The Wolverines quickly responded with a 7–0 run and tied the game at 62, but two free throws from Young reinstated the two point lead. Michigan sophomore forward Terrance Williams ii responded with three pointer that gave the Wolverines a 65–64 edge. 

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The Wildcats have lost six of their last seven conference games, tumbling to ninth in the standings and trailing Purdue by one game for the final Big Ten Tournament berth.

The Wolverines would never trail again for the remainder of the game, although the Wildcats came close several times to asserting a lead. Northwestern would fight all the way to a 72–69 deficit before junior guard Boo Buie would draw a foul and step up to the line with four seconds remaining. Buie would make the first shot and miss the second, setting up a late opportunity for the Wildcats to tie or even win the game. The ball would find its way to freshman guard Julian Roper ii, who made an attempt in heavy traffic that did not find its way into the net. 

Senior forward Pete Nance lead the Wildcats in scoring with 14 points, while Buie trailed just behind with 13 points. Wolverines freshman guard Caleb Houstan led the way for Michigan with 18 points while graduate student guard Devante' Jones was next with 15 points.

The Wildcats fell to 9–9 on the season and are 2–6 within the Big Ten. Northwestern returns to action Jan. 29 when they host Illinois at 3:30 p.m. CST.

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