New York, NY – Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 23 points and the fourth-ranked Michigan Wolverines used a strong second half to beat the Kansas State Wildcats, 71-57, in the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
However, Hardaway left the game late in the second half after taking a knee to the back of his head. Hardaway passed all concussion tests, the team announced after the game.
Trey Burke and Nik Stauskas added 10 points apiece for the Wolverines (5-0), who shot 51.8 percent from the field.
"It was definitely a goal. It was one of our first goals to win the NIT Championship," Burke said. "We did a great job of taking one game at a time. The coaching staff did a good job of preparing us each and every game. We won a hard-fought game against Pitt and a hard-fought game today."
Rodney McGruder ended with 16 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats (5-1), who shot 36.7 percent from the floor. Angel Rodriguez donated 10 points and six assists in defeat.
Michigan jumped out to a 10-point lead early on, but Kansas State responded with a 9-1 spurt. Rodriguez's 3-pointer and Jordan Henriquez's jumper cut the gap to 22-20 with 5:37 left in the opening 20 minutes
The Wolverines answered with four straight points and eventually took a 29-24 lead into the locker room.
Michigan created some distance with a 14-3 run to start the second half. Hardaway tallied six points during the surge to make it a 43-27 contest with 14:44 remaining.
The Wolverines used an 8-0 burst minutes later to extend their margin to 51-30.
It remained a double-digit game the rest of the way.
"The second half, they got away from us," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber admitted. "They are the best in transition."
Michigan holds a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series ... Hardaway won the NIT Season Tip-Off Most Outstanding Player award ... The Wolverines outscored the Wildcats by a 42-33 margin in the second half.