(MCT) — EVANSTON, Ill. — To say Trey Burke dominated Thursday night would be like pointing out that Pat Fitzgerald digs purple.
The point guard scored 23 points and had five assists in Michigan’s 94-66 dismantling of Northwestern in the teams’ Big Ten opener. The 94 points tied with Illinois in 2003 and Virginia in 2007 for the most allowed in the Bill Carmody era.
“We got off to such a horrible start,” Carmody said, “and really weren’t able to stop them the entire evening.”
The second-ranked Wolverines (14-0) hit 13 of 22 three-pointers overall (59.1 percent), scored the game’s first 10 points and quickly led 20-4.
“For the first 10 minutes or so,” guard Alex Marcotullio said, “we really didn’t compete.”
Northwestern fell to 9-5 with its fifth home loss. And this one was bad enough that it will prompt Carmody to stray from the offensive style that has made the Wildcats one of the Big Ten’s highest-scoring teams.
“We might have to change the way we play,” he said. “Slow it down a little, run more high-post stuff. It’s my fault. We probably should have done it for this game.”
The depleted Wildcats, already without JerShon Cobb (suspension), Drew Crawford (shoulder) and Sanjay Lumpkin (wrist), did not use Reggie Hearn, who sprained his left ankle two weeks ago against Stanford. Hearn might be available Sunday at Minnesota.
Michigan coach John Beilein expressed sympathy for Carmody’s bad luck, saying: “If we lost people like that, we would have the same issues they have.”
NU’s sudden lack of depth was evident less than 12 minutes into the game when Carmody summoned walk-on James Montgomery III to sub for forward Mike Turner.
With Northwestern trailing 35-19, Fitzgerald did his best to fire up the sold-out Welsh-Ryan Arena crowd.
After athletic director Jim Phillips introduced him as “the best college football coach in the country,” Fitzgerald walked to midcourt to a standing ovation.
“We better sound like this for the rest of this basketball game,” he barked. “Let’s get this thing pumped up, huh?!”
And then he held up the Gator Bowl trophy.
The buzz died down until Tim Hardaway Jr. (21 points) drilled two 3-pointers and Burke hit Glenn Robinson III on a lob at the basket.
Before the first half ended, a sizable chunk of the crowd began chanting: “Let’s Go Blue!”
The second half brought more of the same. During one three-play series, Burke fed Hardaway on a fast break, hit Jordan Morgan for a slam and then drained a pull-up jumper over Dave Sobolewski.
Burke, a sophomore who considered going pro last year, played like an NBA lottery pick before an audience that included Bulls general manager Gar Forman.
“He can do everything,” Sobolewski said. “He’s just a great all-around player.”