>>Illinois Loses Fourth Straight Big Ten Game
Isaiah Livers helped Michigan through a first-half struggle, and Moe Wagner scored 11 of his 14 points in the second to lift the Wolverines to a 79-69 victory over Illinois on Saturday.
Michigan (14-3, 3-1 Big Ten) won its seventh straight game, but only after a difficult first half in which the Fighting Illini caused problems with their defensive pressure. The Wolverines trailed 19-11 when Livers came in. The 6-foot-7 freshman contributed a 3-pointer and three dunks, the last of which put Michigan up 25-23.
Illinois was ahead 34-31 at halftime, but while the Wolverines took better care of the ball in the second half, turnovers remained a problem for the Illini (10-7, 0-4). Michigan had 12 turnovers in the first half to nine for Illinois. In the second half, the Wolverines only had three, and the Illini had eight.
Charles Matthews, Michigan's leading scorer, was called for a foul in the first minute of the game and immediately came out. When he returned a few minutes later, he picked up a quick second foul and sat the rest of the half. Matthews and Wagner were both called for their third fouls early in the second half, but that didn't stop the Wolverines from keeping Illinois at bay.
Michigan shot 64 percent from the field in the second half and finished with six players in double figures.
Kipper Nichols led Illinois with 17 points.
The Illini play four of their first five games on the road this month. The lone home game is up next, against Iowa on Thursday.
>>Illinois State Gets By Missouri State
Phil Fayne and Milik Yarbrough scored 23 points each as Illinois State forced Missouri State into uncharacteristic turnovers, handing the Bears their first Missouri Valley Conference loss, 72-68, Sunday.
Illinois State (9-7, 3-1) showed why it owns the best turnover margin in the MVC, forcing Missouri State into a season-most 18 turnovers, 11 in the first half, turning those into 23 points while the Redbirds only turned the ball over six times. The Bears had the fewest turnovers in conference.
Missouri State, which lost a four-game win streak as well as its 3-0 start in MVC, fell behind by as many as 10 in the second half but fought back into a 58-56 lead on a J.T. Miller tip-in and foul shot with 4:44 to play.
Fayne regained the lead with back-to-back dunks inside the final two minutes, converting the second dunk into a 3-point play. Illinois State was up 65-62 and Yarbrough, Keyshawn Evans and Fayne made 5 of 8 free throws in the last 15 seconds while a 3-pointer and a drive by Jarred Dixon couldn't regain the lead.
Miller, Ronnie Rousseau and Alize Johnson scored 16 each for the Bears (13-4, 3-1).
>>Evansville Topples Bradley
Ryan Taylor hit four 3-pointers and scored 21 and Dru Smith had 14 points and six assists to lead Evansville to a 68-44 romp over Bradley on Saturday.
Blake Simmons chipped in with 12 points, five assists and three steals for Evansville (11-6, 1-3 Missouri Valley Conference), which shot 49 percent from the floor, made 8 of 15 from 3-point range and made all 10 of its free throws. Dainius Chatkevisius grabbed seven rebounds to help Evansville control the boards 35-22.
Taylor scored the last five points in a 20-4 run and the Purple Aces pulled away from a tie at 10 to lead 30-14. Noah Frederking's jumper pushed the lead to 21 midway through the second half and Evansville coasted to snap a four-game slide.
Donte Thomas topped the Braves (12-5, 2-2) with 12 points, while Elijah Childs scored 10. Bradley made just 15 of 43 shots (35 percent) and hit 3 of 14 from long range.