CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (DETROIT FREE PRESS) – Michigan doesn't share nicely.
That was the emphatic statement Tuesday at the State Farm Center as the Wolverines put a headlock on the outright Big Ten title, crushing Illinois, 84-53, in the final road game of the season.
No. 12 Michigan (22-7, 14-3 Big Ten) came to Champaign having clinched a share of the program's 14th conference title and cruising to the No. 1 Big Ten tournament seed.
But Tuesday showed that they were not satisfied, securing U-M's first solo title in 28 years.
Illinois entered on a three-game winning streak beaming as a defensive juggernaut. Scoring 52 points in the first half and their Big Ten-best 84 for the game, the Wolverines buried that notion.
To reach another level, though, it takes another level player and Nik Stauskas made his compelling case for Big Ten Player of the Year, hitting a career high 7 (of 9) three-pointers on his way to 24 points.
In a season full of Big Ten championship moments, none was more impactful than Stauskas at the end of the first half.
With the Orange Crush student section taunting him and Illinois coach John Groce using up his fouls in the final 20 seconds, despite trailing by 19, Stauskas made them all pay.
Getting the ball with seconds to play, he drilled a 25-foot three-pointer and glared at the student section.
Even U-M coach John Beilein, rarely prone to excitement, turned back to the bench and said to no one in particular: "Wow."
Watching the lead peak at 33 with 5:44 remaining in the game, the loss buried the Illini (17-13, 6-11), likely ending their shot at approaching the NCAA Tournament bubble.
Watching an opponent shoot nearly 70% from three-point range will do that to a team bragging on its defense.
But that's Michigan's power. The Wolverines entered the game shooting 39% from three-point range yet only had one blowout three-point shooting game in the first 16.
o when it came, it looked like an avalanche, with Caris LeVert's 15 points and Glenn Robinson III's 13 supporting Stauskas.
The 52-30 first half lead was straight out of the Beilein manual.
Michigan's clinic came from behind the three-point line, hitting an insane 11-of-14 from three-point range, showing off every skill they had.
Stauskas led the charge with 14 points, hitting 4-of-5, including the 25-footer at the halftime buzzer.
Zak Irvin came off the bench and grabbed three of this own.
Even Robinson, who was 1-of-10 from long range in the past month, hit one.
The clinic answered whatever questions were out there.
Illinois had held its previous four opponents to less than 50 points.
Michigan topped that by halftime, announcing early that there would be only one title trophy in this Big Ten season.
Contact Mark Snyder: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mark__snyder.