Not every win is going to be pretty.
But No. 5 Michigan basketball remained undefeated with a 70-62 win over Western Michigan at Crisler Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Wolverines (11-0) shot the ball poorly in the first half, but clamped down on defense and found offensive success in transition.
The Broncos (5-5) hung around all game, but a 24-4 run from U-M between the end of the first half and the start of the second proved to be the decisive stretch.
Broncos guard Michael Flowers led all scorers with 31 points. Charles Matthews had 25 to lead U-M.
Here are three takeaways from Michigan's win.
A rough start
With 2:58 left in the first half, WMU took an eight-point lead.
That lead was built on Michigan's poor shooting.
The Wolverines started the game 6 of 18 from the field. They missed their first six 3s. They made just 5 of 13 first-half free throws.
There were a few careless turnovers, too, such as an errant wrap-around pass on a fast break.
Meanwhile, Western Michigan hit three early 3s, and guard Michael Flowers led all scorers with 15 first-half points.
Defense clamps down
U-M got a lift thanks to its defense.
WMU's final six possessions of the half resulted in a missed 3, four consecutive turnovers and a missed layup.
Michigan turned stops into scores, with a 10-0 run over the final 2:21 that culminated in Charles Matthews going basket to basket fora buzzer-beating layup.
The strong defense continued into the second half, as the Wolverines stretched their lead to double digits.
After scoring on its first possession of the second half, Western Michigan turned the ball over twice, missed a wild 3 at the end of the shot clock, missed another 3 and had a hook shot blocked.
Between the final 2:21 of the first half and the first 5:20 of the second half, U-M ripped off a 24-4 run to take a hold of the game.
The Wolverines did just enough to stay ahead, although the game's margin did prevent Michigan from getting the bench some playing time.
Backup center Austin Davis played some important minutes after Jon Teske picked up an early foul, but otherwise the Wolverines' usual seven-man rotation took up all available minutes.
Simpson ends slump from outside
Junior point guard Zavier Simpson hadn't made a 3-pointer in nearly month.
His last came Nov. 17, when he went 4 of 7 from outside against George Washington.
In the six games after, he was 0-for-10 from 3-point range — and he missed his first attempt against WMU, too.
But Simpson, who scored 15 points, would break his slump in the second half. He capitalized on some clean looks from outside, shooting 3 of 3 from 3-point range in the second half.
With Western Michigan hanging around, Simpson hit a 3 from the corner that stretched the lead to double digits again with just under eight minutes left.
Contact Orion Sang: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang.
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