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Michigan Beats Illinois 79-69, Ties School Record With 16-0 Start

The Wolverines have gotten out to one of the best starts in school history.

January 10, 2019 - 11:12 pm

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (97.1 The Ticket) -- All five starters reached double digit scoring as the Michigan men's basketball team beat Illinois 79-69 Thursday night, tying the mark for the best start in school history at 16-0.

The No. 2 Wolverines (4-0 Big Ten) are now one win away from breaking that record, which was set during the 1985-86 season and again tied in 2012-13. The Wolverines host Northwestern Sunday night at Crisler Center.

Junior guard Zavier Simpson led the way with 16 points and eight assists, while center Jon Teske notched his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

The Wolverines never trailed in the game, and raced out to an 8-0 lead over the overmatched Illini (4-12, 0-5). Despite leading by 11 points on three separate occasions in the first half, Michigan held just a 39-35 lead at halftime.

Freshman forward Iggy Brazdeikis, named to the Wooden Award Watch List earlier Thursday, had 15 points and eight rebounds, while Charles Matthews -- also named to the watch list -- had 14 points. The fifth starter, Jordan Poole, chipped in with 10, while Isaiah Livers had nine off the bench.

The Illini were paced by freshman guard Ayo Dosunmu's 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting, but could not pull within less than four points in the second half. 

Freshman forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili and sophomore Trent Frazier chipped in with 15 and 13 points, respectively.

Michigan will try to set school history Sunday against a Wildcats team that gave them fits earlier in the season when the Wolverines escaped Evanston with a 62-60 win during early league play on Dec. 4.

The 2012-13 Wolverines were unable to get past the school record in their 17th game that season, as rival Ohio State dealt them their first loss of the season in a Sunday afternoon tip in Columbus.

Michigan was the last remaining unbeaten team that year. Virginia (14-0) is the only other undefeated team this season. The No. 4 Cavaliers' next game is Saturday at Clemson.