U-M Pulls Away Late to Beat Illinois, Earns First Conference Victory
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Arena)
Score: #23 Michigan 74, Illinois 64
Records: U-M (11-3, 1-1 Big Ten), Illinois (13-2, 1-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Wednesday, Jan. 7 -- at Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.), 6:30 p.m.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The 23rd-ranked University of Michigan men's basketball team defeated Illinois, 74-64, on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 4) at Crisler Arena. Sophomore guard Manny Harris(Detroit, Mich./Detroit Redford HS) led five Wolverines in double figures with 16 points, while junior forward DeShawn Sims(Detroit, Mich./Detroit Pershing HS) and sophomore/freshman guard Laval Lucas-Perry(Flint, Mich./Powers Catholic HS) each added 13. Freshman Zack Novak(Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton HS) had 11 and senior/junior Zack Gibson(Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) chipped in 10.

With the game tied at 48-48 five minutes into the second half, Harris jumped into a passing lane to force a turnover and then went coast-to-coast for a dunk, giving the Wolverines a two-point lead and forcing an Illinois timeout. Following the timeout, U-M forced two more turnovers and converted with a teardrop from sophomore guard Kelvin Grady(Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids HS) and a dunk from Gibson to take a six point lead, 54-48.

Knotted at 62-62 with less than five minutes to play, Lucas-Perry gave the Wolverines the lead for good with a scoop on a drive to the lane. Gibson then made it a four-point lead as he drove baseline for a jam.

Michigan made its free throws and clamped down defensively over the final three-and-a-half minutes, holding the Illini scoreless to pick up its first conference win of the season.

Trailing by a point early in the contest, 9-8, Michigan went on an 8-0 run to take a 16-9 advantage, its largest lead of the first half. Harris began the run with an 18-foot jumper before Sims and Novak each drained a triple. Illinois responded, however, going on an 11-0 run of its own to regain the lead, 20-16.

The Maize and Blue tied the game, 31-31, on a pair of free throws by Harris with 3:49 remaining in the first half. Illinois went back in front by as much as four in the waning moments of the first half before another Novak trifecta, his third of the half, cut the Illini lead to just one, 39-38, at the break.

Novak and Illinois' Calvin Brock led all scorers with 11 at the intermission; Harris also had 10 in the first 20 minutes for the Wolverines. Lucas-Perry, making his first career start, registered five assists in the opening stanza.

Brock led Illini scorers with 13 in the contest, while Illinois' Demetri McCamey added 11 points and 10 assists.

The Maize and Blue returns to action on Wednesday (Jan. 7) when it hits the road for the first time in conference play, traveling to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers in Bloomington, Ind. Game time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and the contest will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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