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Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team rolls past Northwestern, 79-54

Michigan center Jon Teske, left, rebounds against Northwestern guard Pat Spencer during the first half in Evanston, Ill., on Wednesday. (AP photo)

By ANDREW SELIGMAN

AP Sports Writer

EVANSTON, Ill. — Juwan Howard noticed the sea of maize and blue as he scanned the crowd during the national anthem. He had friends and relatives behind the bench, and former teammate Dikembe Mutombo was on hand, too.

It was quite a night for Howard, particularly with Michigan picking up a victory.

Eli Brooks scored 18 points, Isaiah Livers added 17 more, and Michigan its coach the win in his homecoming-of-sorts, beating Northwestern 79-54 on Wednesday night.

“Something about Chicago air,” he said. “I love Chicago air. This is where I grew up. Once I got off the plane, I smelled it. I was like, ‘Ahh, ahh. I’m home.'”

Howard is from the city’s South Side. And his first game coaching the Wolverines (15-9, 6-7 Big Ten) in the Chicago area turned into a rather lopsided affair.

Michigan took control in the first half, withstood a minor push in the second and came away with a rather easy victory.

Brooks nailed four 3-pointers, including a momentum stopper after Northwestern cut a 23-point lead in the second half to 12.

Last-place Northwestern (6-17, 1-12) dropped its eighth in a row and lost for the 13th time in 14 games.