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Michigan beats Illinois, ties record with 16-0 start

Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Basketball

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- John Beilein's latest version of Michigan basketball has earned a place in the history books.

Zavier Simpson had 16 points, eight assists and five rebounds and the No. 2-ranked Wolverines clamped down on Illinois defensively in the second half to pick up a 79-69 road win at Illinois in Champaign on Thursday night.

With the win, Michigan moves to 16-0 and 5-0 in Big Ten play. The 16-0 mark ties a program record for the best start to a season, joining the 2012-13 national runner-up team and the 1985-86 Big Ten championship squad.

Michigan, one of two undefeated teams left in the country, is now 30-1 over its last 31 games.

The Wolverines return to the court Sunday for a home tilt against Northwestern.

Michigan freshman Ignas Brazdeikis had 15 points and eight rebounds.

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Michigan started the game on a 7-0 run and then spent most of the evening more or less playing even against an Illini team that was far too up and down.

One of Michigan's best assets is its overall consistency, as the Wolverines rarely went through any time-sucking droughts that allowed Illinois to push forward with any type of serious run.

Both Charles Matthews and Jordan Poole, two of Michigan's top scorers, struggled with their shots early -- combining to start the game 2 of 9 from the field.

But Michigan found other ways. Jon Teske hit a triple. Simpson routinely got into the lane to create opportunities for both himself and others. He hit two triples of his own.

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