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No. 17 Michigan holds off Western Illinois 59-55

Michigan forward Jordan Morgan dunks during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Western Illinois on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011, at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. Michigan forward Jordan Morgan dunks during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Western Illinois on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011, at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
By Noah Trister
AP Sports Writer / November 17, 2011

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ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points and Trey Burke added 14 to help No. 17 Michigan hold off Western Illinois 59-55 on Thursday night.

It was the final tuneup for the Wolverines (3-0) before they head to Hawaii to play No. 10 Memphis on Monday.

Michigan led by five with 3:06 remaining when Western Illinois' Obi Emegano missed a free throw that would have completed a three-point play, and Hardaway scored at the other end to make it 53-46.

Jordan Morgan added 11 points for Michigan.

Western Illinois (0-2) lost its 15th straight game, a slide that dates to Jan. 15. Ceola Clark III led the Leathernecks with 21 points, and Terell Parks contributed 11.

Trailing 30-28 early in the second half, Michigan went on an 11-2 run to take the lead for good. Morgan capped the stretch with an impressive sequence in which he scored, blocked a shot, then scored another basket inside to give the Wolverines a 39-32 lead.

Michigan opened the season with a win over Division II Ferris State last week, then handed Towson its 21st consecutive loss. After the win over Western Illinois, it's fair to wonder how much the Wolverines have been tested, but they'll face much stiffer competition soon enough.

Western Illinois gave Michigan all it could handle for most of this game. The Leathernecks shot 6 of 9 from 3-point range in the first half and entered halftime tied at 28. Despite the run early in the second by the Wolverines, Western Illinois trailed by only four and had the ball when Hardaway drew a charging foul with 8:13 to play.

Morgan's layup off an offensive rebound made it 48-42, and Parks fouled out with 6:30 remaining, hurting Western Illinois' chances. Hardaway made a 3-pointer to push the lead to nine, and the Leathernecks called a timeout with 5:01 left.

The teams finished with a combined 38 fouls after committing only 11 in the first half.

Western Illinois was dealt another blow when Clark went down with what appeared to be cramping in his right leg with 4:05 remaining. He came back with 2:37 to play, but then guard Billy Molinari turned the ball over when he fell to the floor with a left leg injury at the 2:09 mark.

Michigan trailed 10-7 before going on an 11-0 run during the first half. Clark answered with two 3-pointers -- sandwiched around another shot from beyond the arc by Tommie Tyler -- to pull the Leathernecks even at 19.