Tim Hardaway, Jr., scored 21 points and Trey Burke had 18 points and nine assists to help No. 5 Michigan stave off No. 9 Minnesota 83-75 on Thursday night, after falling at rival Ohio State four days before.
"We came out with a higher intensity than last game and set the tone first," Burke said, adding: "We got our confidence back, and that's important."
Hardaway hit four 3-pointers in the first half for the Wolverines (17-1, 4-1 Big Ten), who held the lead for the final 33 minutes of the game and finished with 13 steals to fuel their fast break. Nik Stauskas added 11 points, and now Michigan has a week to rest before a home game against Purdue.
"When you don't lose very often, they really hit hard," coach John Beilein said. "I think it's important for your mental health."
Austin Hollins led the Gophers (15-3, 3-2) with 21 points and four steals, and Trevor Mbakwe had 13 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. Andre Hollins was drawn into early foul trouble, but he came alive after halftime to finish with 13 points and four assists.
The Gophers crept back in the game after falling behind by 19 points early in the second half but squandered some opportunities to really make the Wolverines worry. Joe Coleman missed three of four free throws in the final 4 minutes.
Rodney Williams cut the margin to 77-70 with 2:40 remaining and the Gophers got the ball back, but a 3-pointer by Williams rolled off the rim and Andre Hollins had his put-back attempt blocked underneath.
Burke stretched the lead to nine points with two free throws with 43 seconds left, effectively sealing another signature victory for the Wolverines.
"We're going to have to do something out of the ordinary to be in the Big Ten hunt," Beilein said. "Every team is going to have to do that."
Michigan moved into a four-way tie for second place in the stacked conference behind surprisingly unbeaten Wisconsin. Minnesota lost its second straight game after falling 88-81 at Indiana last Saturday. The Wolverines have beaten the Gophers in eight of their last nine meetings.
"It's very big, especially for our young guys," Hardaway said. "It shows that they can win through adversity and they can limit mistakes. It shows that we can trust them and we know that they can handle it."
This was the first game at Williams Arena pitting two top 10 teams in The Associated Press poll since Michigan visited Minnesota in 1977, and the fans at "The Barn" raised the noise level to the occasion. In the first four minutes, Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins both swished 3-pointers and Mbakwe blocked two turnaround shots by Jordan Morgan.
The Gophers are built around an aggressive, athletic defense that coach Tubby Smith has long employed, but the Wolverines can guard people, too, and they made the Gophers pay nearly every time they made a rushed, forced or panicked pass under heavy ball pressure. The Wolverines entered the game with the fewest fouls in the nation at 11.6 per game, and they emerged from this physical contest with ripped jerseys by three players (Burke, Stauskas and Morgan) and more moxie for the rest of the way.
"Got cuts and everything. That's Big Ten basketball," Hardaway said.