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Michigan beats S. Dakota St., despite Burke scare

9:35 PM, Mar 21, 2013   |    comments
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Michigan's Trey Burke guards South Dakota State's Nate Wolters on March 21, 2013, in the second round of the NCAA tournament at the Palace of Auburn Hills. (Courtesy: Julian H. Gonzalez/Detroit Free Press)

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) -- In case anyone forgot, this is how it's supposed to happen.

The higher seed withstands the early run, then its talent takes over in the second half.

Michigan fans just have a long memory. Tonight, the No. 4 seed Wolverines buried 2012's upset ghost.

They did it by riding the freshmen who don't remember that game, winning their opening NCAA tournament game 71-56 over No. 13 seed South Dakota State Thursday at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

That earns them a Saturday game against the winner of No. 5 VCU-No. 12 Akron later tonight in front of another friendly home crowd.

Surviving the worst night of Trey Burke's season - when he had only two baskets - the rest of the Wolverines took him off the hook as he's done for them so many times this year.

Tim Hardaway Jr. pumped in his usual 21 points, carrying U-M through the lackluster first half, but got impressive help from the freshmen as Glenn Robinson III tied his career high with 21 points and Mitch McGary had 13, one off his career high.

It all reminded what Michigan (27-7) can be when it gets contributions from everywhere.

No. 13 seed South Dakota State (25-10) was cold where it mattered, from long range, shooting just 21%.

The Wolverines opened the second half with a weapon they haven't used much in recent weeks. Robinson opened with their first 11 points, then came back for an alley-oop from Burke to push U-M's lead near double digits.

Michigan got the scare it has feared all season when Burke appeared to hit his head with 11 minutes remaining. But he rose after a minute, got checked in the locker room and was back in 1 ½ game minutes.

U-M held its lead without him in there as the Jackrabbits couldn't buy a shot.

Michigan played its typically inconsistent first half, going a long stretch without scoring (almost 6 ½ minutes), then using a furious 11-0 run to retake the lead.

While they did a good job shutting down Jackrabbits star Nate Wolters, who had four points, they gave all his points to Brayden Carlson, who nearly matched his full-game season high with 16 at the break.

The Wolverines led just 30-26 at halftime mostly because of Hardaway four three-pointers, but even then they know knew it would need help from more than Burke to pull out a win.

By Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press sports writer

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