Hot-Shooting Second Half Propels Michigan to Triumph over Penn State

Jan. 2, 2011

Box Score |  Notes |  Photo Gallery 
• John Beilein Audio: Postgame Press Conference | Radio Show
• Postgame Video: Guard Zack Novak | Guard Darius Morris | Highlights

Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Arena)
Score: Michigan 76, Penn State 69
Records: U-M (11-3, 1-1 Big Ten), Penn State (8-5, 1-1 Big Ten)
Attendance: 11,771
Next U-M Event: Wednesday, Jan. 5 -- at Wisconsin (Madison, Wis.), 7:30 p.m. CST (TV: Big Ten Network)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team ended its eight-game home stand with a 76-69 win over Penn State on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 2) in Crisler Arena. The Wolverines shot 60.9 percent (14-of-23) in the second half to turn as much as a nine-point deficit into a seven-point win. Michigan had a season high in field-goal percentage (57.4 percent) and was a perfect 14-of-14 from the free throw line.

Sophomore Darius Morris (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward) recorded his fifth double-double of the season, scoring 20 points and dishing off 10 assists. Redshirt freshman Jordan Morgan (Detroit, Mich./U of D Jesuit) was one rebound away from his first career double-double, scoring 10 points and pulling down nine rebounds. Junior Zack Novak (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) had 15 points, all coming in the second half, while freshman Evan Smotrycz (Reading, Mass./New Hampton Prep [N.H.]) was Michigan's fourth player in double figures in scoring with 11 points.

The Penn State duo of David Jackson (14) and Talor Battle (13) combined to score 27 points in the opening half as the Nittany Lions led 36-31 at the break. The game opened with a three-pointer from Morris at 18:42, but four straight points from Battle made it 6-5 PSU at 15:09. Morris had six of Michigan's first eight points as an old-fashioned three-point play at 14:22 gave U-M an 8-6 lead. Smotrycz hit a three at 13:42 to make it 11-8 Wolverines, but an 8-0 Nittany Lion run in a 2:57 span midway through the half gave Penn State an 18-13 advantage. The run was stopped by a layup from freshman Jon Horford (Grand Ledge, Mich./Grand Ledge) at 8:55, but back-to-back threes from Jackson and Battle forced U-M to call a timeout at 7:38 with Penn State up, 24-15. Smotrycz's three-point play at 5:50 cut the lead to 26-20 and his layup at 2:18 shaved the Nittany Lion lead to 31-26. Junior Stu Douglass (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) scored the final points of the half on a three from the top of the key with 39 seconds remaining. Michigan shot 54.2 percent (13-of-24) from the floor in the first half, but was outrebounded, 15-9, and was just 3-of-11 (27.3 percent) from three-point range.

Smotrycz opened the second half with a three at 19:37. Novak then cut the deficit to 38-36 on his first bucket of the game at 18:14. Sophomore Matt Vogrich (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) tied the game at 39 on a three from the corner at 14:30. Michigan's first lead of the half came at 13:39 on a Novak three. His layup and free throw at 13:27 gave U-M a 45-41 lead. Penn State came back and tied the game at 10:24 on a three-point play from Jeff Brooks, before Battle gave the Nittany Lions the 52-49 lead at 8:15 on one of his five three-pointers. Michigan went on a 6-0 run over the next 1:01, capped by a Douglass three, but Penn State again took the lead as Brooks' bucket at 4:14 made it 59-57 PSU. The lead changed hands for the 10th and last time on a Vogrich three-point play at 3:23, making it 63-61 U-M. A Morgan dunk off a nice feed from Morris at 2:24 made it 65-61. Penn State came back to score the next three points, but Novak hit a big three with 1:44 left for the 68-64 lead. Michigan iced the win with eight free throws in the final 53 seconds of play.

Battle was one point off a career high, scoring 31 on 11-of-20 shooting and the five triples. It is his sixth career 30-plus point performance. Brooks and Jackson had 16 and 15 points, respectively, while Tim Frazier dished out six assists. Both teams had 17 assists, while the Nittany Lions enjoyed a 26-24 rebounding advantage.

Michigan will open up its Big Ten road schedule this Wednesday (Jan. 5) as the Maize and Blue takes on Wisconsin. Tipoff at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., is at 7:30 CST.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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