New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Sophomore guard Trey Burke fired 17 points off the bench as No. 4 Michigan outscored Pittsburgh in the second half en route to a 67-62 victory and a spot in the final of the NIT Season Tipoff Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
Burke also issued five assists and had three caroms while Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III, whose fathers were former NBA stars, scored 16 and 13 markers, respectively to help the Wolverines protect an unblemished 4-0 record.
Nick Staukas contributed 15 points and five boards for the Wolverines (4-0), who will play Kansas State Friday for the title.
Lamar Patterson was the only player in double figures for the Panthers (4-1) with 14 points, Cameron Wright and James Robinson scored eight points apiece and Talib Zanna and JJ Moore added seven points each.
It was a sorry loss for the Panthers, who led by as many as eight points en route to outscoring Wolverines, 33-29, in the first half behind a balanced scoring.
In the second half, the Panthers extended their lead to 38-31 after two foul shots by Zanna before the Wolverines snatched the lead, 46-44, behind four straight points by Hardaway.
Staukas sank two foul shots with 1:27 left in the game to give the Wolverines a 59-50 advantage but the Panthers scored six points to cut the lead to three.
Then, Burke sank four foul shots while Robinson and Staukas added two charities each to keep the Panthers’ comeback try at bay.
Earlier, the Jayhawks defeated Delaware, 66-63, to clinch the other final spot behind four pressure-packed foul shots by Will Spradling in the final 30 seconds.
Spradling, Angel Rodriguez and Thomas Gipson scored 12 points apiece for the Wildcats (5-0), who overcame a 32-point performance by Devon Saddler.