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Third-ranked Wolverines clash with instate rival Broncos

11:01 AM, Dec 4, 2012   |    comments
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Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - The third-ranked Michigan Wolverines put their unblemished record on the line once again, as they turn their attention to Tuesday night's visit from the Western Michigan Broncos.

Western Michigan is off to an impressive start of its own, the team logging a 6-1 mark. The Broncos haven't beaten what most would consider a quality opponent yet, save for a 58-53 triumph at South Florida on Nov. 18, but they will certainly make folks stand up and take notice if they are somehow able to pull off the upset of the Wolverines, in Ann Arbor no less. WMU has a tough bout against NC State slated for the end of the month, and then will open Mid- American Conference play at Akron on Jan. 9, 2013.

Michigan claimed a 74-66 win at Bradley on Saturday, running its record to a perfect 7-0 in the process. It's the first 7-0 start for the Wolverines since 2006-07, and their signature wins this season have come against Pittsburgh, Kansas State and NC State. The Maize and Blue will face serious challenges once the Big Ten Conference slate gets underway at Northwestern on Jan. 3, 2013, but the team will need be on top of its game when it takes on Arkansas and West Virginia in the next couple of weeks.

Michigan owns a 24-11 lead in the all-time series with its intrastate rival, but the Broncos have been victorious in each of the last two meetings (2001-02).

Western Michigan overcame a late deficit to earn a 76-72 win over visiting Oakland on Saturday, as Shayne Whittington scored 14 points to lead three Broncos in double figures. Nate Hutcheson tacked on 13 points and Darius Paul chipped in 12 for WMU, which shot 47.2 percent from the floor, despite missing nine of its 13 three-point attempts. Paul and Whittington combined for 17 of the team's 41 rebounds, and the Broncos were victorious thanks in large part to a poor shooting effort (.361) put forth by the Golden Grizzlies. Hutcheson (13.7 ppg. 4.6 rpg) is one of three double-digit scorers on the season for Western Michigan, which nets 68.1 ppg while allowing just 57.6 ppg. The team's defensive effort has been top-notch, with foes knocking down a mere 37.8 percent of their field goal attempts. WMU owns a significant +7.7 rebounding margin, and Whittington is close to averaging a double-double as he scores 9.9 ppg while coming up with 8.6 rpg.

Freshman Nik Stauskas drained 4-of-5 three-point attempts in scoring a career- high 22 points, as Michigan won by eight at Bradley over the weekend. Trey Burke tacked on 16 points despite shooting just 5-of-13 from the field, while Glenn Robinson III added 13 points and Jordan Morgan logged a double-double consisting of 10 points and 10 rebounds. The team as a whole made good on 49.1 percent of its total shots, knocking down 7-of-15 three-point tries along the way. The Braves had an outstanding shooting night as well (.520), but the Wolverines claimed a 15-8 edge in points from the foul line, while also logging a 32-24 advantage on the glass. Through seven games, Burke and Hardaway, Jr. are each netting 16.6 ppg, with the former handing out 7.1 apg and the latter grabbing 5.6 rpg. Stauskas (14.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and Robinson III (12.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg) round out the double-digit scorers for a squad that lights up the scoreboard to the tune of 79.9 ppg, while allowing the opposition just 60.0 ppg. As a team, Michigan is shooting 52.4 percent from the field, which includes a stellar 43.2 percent showing from beyond the arc.

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