There are some great players who don’t shine in crunch time. There are some that disappear against the rivals. And then there are players like Trey Burke, who will their teams to win when they need it the most.
Burke had a game-high 21 points and hit eight of his 17 shots in the Michigan Wolverines‘ 58-57 win over the Michigan State Spartans. The matchup of top-10 teams was extremely different than when the two schools met in East Lansing and moved the teams even in the top-heavy Big Ten.
Burke’s performance came on a night when no other Michigan player really shone. Mitch McGary had 11 points, but it was a rather routine night for the forward. The more shocking aspect was the lack of offense from Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III, who combined for 14 points on 7-of-18 shooting. The lack of a second scoring option put more pressure on Burke and he rose to the occasion to make sure the Wolverines did not fall out of the Big Ten title picture.
The other interesting factoid about the game was how poorly Michigan did what it normally does so well. The Wolverines missed all 12 of its opportunities from behind the arc, odd for the second-best three-point shooting team in the Big Ten. On the glass, the Spartans dominated 41-28, which in itself is not that surprising. Michigan State is the better rebounding team, but Michigan had seven less rebounds than its season average and gave up 10 more rebounds than it normally averages.
It is in games like this that a superstar has to step up and control the game and luckily for the Wolverines, Burke stepped up in a big way against the Spartans.