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Kobe Bufkin powers Michigan past Northwestern

Jan 15, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Michigan Wolverines guard Kobe Bufkin (2) dribbles past Northwestern Wildcats forward Robbie Beran (31) in the first half at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bufkin’s 20 points led four players in double figures Sunday, helping host Michigan rally in the second half to an 85-78 win over Northwestern in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Bufkin was 9 of 11 from the field for the Wolverines (10-7, 4-2 Big Ten), which shot 51.8 percent from the field and canned 10 of 22 3-point attempts.

Dug McDaniel had 17 points and five assists, and Jett Howard added 16 and seven, respectively. Hunter Dickinson contributed 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, his 22nd career double-double.

Boo Buie scored a game-high 22 points and added five assists for the Wildcats (12-5, 3-3), while Robbie Beran added 16 points. Matthew Nicholson contributed 13 points and Brooks Barnhizer came off the bench to add 10.

Northwestern hit just 42.2 percent from the field, largely because leading scorer Chase Audige couldn’t find the range. He was 3 of 14 from the field for eight points. The Wildcats were also clobbered on the glass 41-29.

Bufkin’s pullup jumper with 9:34 left gave Michigan the lead for good at 60-59. It started a 10-0 run that Dickinson ended with a jump hook at the 6:56 mark.

In a matchup of one of the nation’s toughest defenses against one of the more explosive offensive attacks, offense prevailed early. Michigan shot its way to 10-2 and 18-6 leads, solving a Northwestern squad ranked among the tops in Division I in efficiency.

But the Wildcats started forcing turnovers and worked their way into contention. The Wolverines entered the game ranked second in Division I in fewest turnovers but matched their per-game average of nine in the first half.

As a result, Northwestern erased its double-figure deficit and tied the score at 27 with 5:39 left on a 3-pointer by Audige. The Wildcats actually grabbed a six-point lead late in the half before Michigan got a layup and two free throws from McDaniel to pull within 39-37 at the break.

–Field Level Media