Most people probably didn't expect the Western Illinois Leathernicks to give the Michigan Wolverines much of a scare on Thursday night, but that's precisely what they did in Michigan's 59-55 victory. The Wolverines, ranked No. 17 in the country, were tied 28-28 with Western Illinois at halftime, and had to battle through a competitive second half to get their third win of the season.
With 46 seconds left in the game, Michigan actually had established a nine-point lead, but Western Illinois got some garbage points at the end of the game to trim the margin. Still, it's an impressive performance for the Leathernecks, who legitimate challenged one of the better teams in the country. It has to be seen as a massive improvement internally, given that they lost their season-opener by 29 points to Dayton just five days ago.
Ceola Clark III led Western Illinois with 21 points, including four three-pointers. Tim Hardaway Jr., son of former NBA star of the same name, led Michigan with 16 points. Fellow Michigan guard Trey Burke added 14 points and 5 assists.
Michigan is now 3-0 this season after the win, while Western Illinois drops to 0-2.