ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Jim Harbaugh’s introduction at halftime was the big news, but Ricky Doyle helped make it an even happier homecoming for the new Michigan football coach, scoring the Wolverines’ last seven points in regulation to force overtime and Michigan beat Illinois, 73-65, on Tuesday.
Harbaugh received the biggest cheers during the game, but Aubrey Dawkins stole the show, scoring 17 of his game-high 20 points after halftime. Dawkins’ previous career-high was five points. Caris LeVert turned in his usual solid effort with 17 points and Doyle finished with 13 for Michigan (8-5 overall, 1-0 Big Ten).READ MORE: Mayor Lightfoot Delays General Iron Permit To Move To South Side Over EPA Concerns
Malcolm Hill scored 19 as the only player to finish in double digits for Illinois (10-4, 0-1). Rayvonte Rice chipped in eight points, 11 rebounds and six assists, and both Jaylon Tate and Aaron Cosby came off the bench to score seven points.
Zak Irvin, who finished with 13 points, nailed a dagger of a 3-pointer with three minutes to play in overtime and the Wolverines never gave up the lead again.
Michigan’s recent offensive woes continued against the Illini, heading into halftime with just 26 points on 34.4 percent shooting.
It marked the fifth time in the last seven games that Michigan failed to reach the 30-point plateau in the first half — a stretch that includes five losses.
The Illinois offense didn’t light up the scoreboard, either, but used a 15-6 run, spanning the end of the first half and the beginning of the second, to build a comfortable lead.
Michigan, which hit just two of 10 3-point attempts in the first half, shook off the slow start and relied on the deep ball to claw its way back in the game.
The Wolverines shot 53.3 from 3-point range in the final 25 minutes, hitting eight of 18 treys. Dawkins drilled all five of his 3-point attempts after halftime.READ MORE: Chicago Night Clubs Gear Up For Looser COVID-19 Restrictions As State Prepares To Enter Bridge Phase
As Illinois focused all its efforts on the 3-point stripe, Doyle was suddenly wide open to help the Wolverines force overtime, notching three dunks and a free throw.
The Wolverines outscored Illinois 14-6 in extra time to seal the win.
Michigan: The Wolverines won their fourth consecutive Big Ten opener since a to Purdue in 2010. … In its first eight games of the season, Michigan shot 42.6 percent from 3-point range. In the last five, which has included four losses, Michigan is shooting 27 percent.
Illinois: It was just the second true road game of the season for Illinois. The Illini also lost at Miami, 70-61, on Dec. 2 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. … John Groce is now 0-5 all-time vs. Michigan as Illinois’ head coach. He did record a win over the Wolverines in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament while the coach at Ohio. … The two teams meet again in Champaign, Ill. on Feb. 12.
Michigan travels to Purdue on Saturday.MORE NEWS: Saint Joseph Catholic School Principal On Administrative Duty After Former Teacher Charged With Child Sex Crimes
Illinois is at No. 20 Ohio State on Saturday.