Wolverines Open New Year with Domination of Fairfield
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NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team opened the new year with a commanding 66-43 victory over Fairfield Saturday afternoon (Jan. 3) at Madison Square Garden. The Wolverines (9-2) were dominant on both ends of the court, converting on over 47 percent of their field goals while holding the Stags to just 16-of-50 shooting.

 

Robinson converted nine of his 13 field goal attempts and led all players with 19 points.

Senior Bernard Robinson Jr. (Washington, D.C./New Hampton Prep, N.H.) led U-M's potent offensive attack with a game-high 19 points, including nine of 13 from the field, and seven boards. Sophomore Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) continued his hot shooting with 17 points, including four of eight from behind the arc. Freshman Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) also caught fire, connecting on five of eight shots for 13 points. Sophomore Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) rounded out the quartet of double-digit scorers with 11 points and a team-high four assists. Kudjo Sogadzi led Faifield with 11 points.

The Wolverines came out firing on all cylinders, hitting four of their first five field goals en route to an early 10-2 lead. Horton began the Michigan scoring with his first triple before Robinson put home four straight points in transition. Horton then capped off the run with another trey to put Michigan up by eight points only 2:20 into the game. The Wolverine defense also did its part, as the Stags were held to just three field goals in the first eight minutes of the first half.

Horton's triple would be U-M's last field goal for nearly four minutes, as the next four offensive attempts were off the mark. Horton broke the drought with a layup at 13:45 to give Michigan a 12-6 advantage. Harris kept things going for U-M with another layup before nailing his first three-pointer to put the Wolverines ahead 17-7 with 11:15 left until the break.

Fairfield responded with a 7-0 run to trim the Michigan lead to 17-14 with just under eight minutes remaining in the half. Following a timeout, Horton provided Michigan with a six-point cushion with his third triple of the game. Five unanswered points from Sogadzi brought Fairfield within one point, 20-19, with 5:30 to play in the first half.

Michigan would not allow another point by the Stags in the half, as the Wolverines finished the final four minutes with a 10-0 run. The offensive outburst included buckets from freshman Courtney Sims (Roslindale, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) and senior/junior J.C. Mathis (Brooklyn, N.Y./John F. Kennedy HS), while Robinson converted on another jumper. Horton concluded the furious finish with his fourth triple to send Michigan to the locker room up 30-19 at the half.

Horton finished the first half with 14 points to lead U-M, while Sogadzi and Terrence Todd each netted five points for the Stags.

U-M continued its stellar play on the defensive end throughout the opening minutes of the second half, limiting Fairfield to just five points in the first seven minutes. The Stags' offensive troubles allowed Michigan to build a 42-24 lead, as Horton knocked down another layup and Robinson nailed a pair of jumpers. Two straight triples from Abram and Harris gave Michigan the 18-point lead with 12:54 left in the game.

A pair of free throws from Deng Gai broke a five-minute scoreless drought for Fairfield and cut the lead to 42-26, but Michigan would never back down. Harris' third triple of the game and another jumper from Robinson put U-M up by 20 points with 11:24 to play. Two free throws from Sims and a hoop from Harris gave Michigan its largest lead of the game, 52-28, with 10 minutes left.

The Wolverines continued to stick it to Fairfield despite holding the large lead. Abram and Robinson combined for the final 14 Michigan points. Abram collected seven of the points, including a pair of jumpers and a fast-break dunk. Robinson netted the other seven, including three straight buckets in a span of 40 seconds.

Head coach Tommy Amaker cleared his bench with the 23-point lead, as junior/sophomore Dani Wohl (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield HS), senior Colin Dill (Saginaw, Mich./Birmingham Country Day) and sophomore/freshman Amadou Ba (Mauritania, Africa/Bridgton Academy, Maine) all saw time on the floor in the final minute.

The Wolverines, who finished their non-conference schedule with a 9-2 record, kick off the Big Ten Conference season against Northwestern on Wednesday (Jan. 7) at Crisler Arena. The ESPN-Plus game will tip off at 7 p.m.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423


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