ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team closed out its non-conference schedule with a 70-48 victory over Fairfield tonight (Saturday, Jan. 8) at Crisler Arena. The Wolverines (10-5 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) held strong from start to finish, shooting 53.3 percent (23-of-43) from the field along with a team-best nine three-point field goals to hold a considerable lead for the majority of the contest. After falling behind in the first five minutes of play, the Wolverines grabbed the lead and never looked back, keeping their advantage above nine for the entire second half.
The hot-shooting duo of sophomore Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) and freshman Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) led the way in scoring for the Wolverines. Harris finished with a team-high 20 points, hitting 7-of-13 from the field with five triples. Coleman put up a career-best 18 tallies, draining 6-of-10 from the field and matching a personal best of three triples.
The Wolverines shot out to a comfortable lead in the first half, lead by the tandem of Coleman and Harris, who combined for 26 of Michigan's 39 first-half points. Fairfield grabbed an 8-7 lead after 4:45 of play, but the Wolverines dug in and took over. After the score reached a 10-10 tie, Michigan put up a quick four points off a Coleman jumper and a fast-break layup from sophomore Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) to take a 14-10 lead.
The Maize and Blue put significant difference between the scores on a 3:17, 11-2 run kicked off by two points under the basket by sophomore Courtney Sims (Roslindale, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) and Coleman's second triple of the half. The scoring drive was helped by Fairfield fouls, as sophomore John Andrews (West Bloomfield, Mich./Orchard Lake St. Mary's) and Coleman combined for a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. With 6:08 left to play in the half, Michigan held a comfortable 27-17 advantage.
U-M's lead wasn't safe, however, as the Stags grabbed momentum and threw up a fast eight points to close the gap between the two teams. Fairfield's 8-0 run spanned 2:16, helped out by back-to-back triples from Fairfield's Terrence Todd. With Michigan's lead depleted to two (27-25), Harris broke the Wolverine drought with a three-point hoop of his own. Coleman followed suit with his third three-bagger of the half before another Harris triple upped U-M's lead to 11 (36-25) with 1:38 remaining in the half.
Michigan ended the half strong, as fifth-year senior J.C. Mathis (Brooklyn, N.Y./John F. Kennedy HS) drove the hoop for two before Petway closed out the Wolverine scoring drive with one from the line. At the break, the Maize and Blue headed into the locker rooms carrying a 39-27 lead.
Michigan kept its lead safely out of reach from the Stags for the remainder of the contest, never letting their lead drop below nine points. Junior Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) helped the Wolverines pick up right where they left off, grabbing a steal and traveling coast-to-coast for two before draining a three-point basket to put U-M up 49-33 with 14:43 left on the clock.
The two teams battled back-and-forth for the remainder of the contest, with Michigan holding steady with a significant lead. A combination of free throws and solid shooting from the field kept U-M on top before Harris finished the game strong with back-to-back triples with 2:19 remaining for a 68-48 advantage. Mathis closed out the game with a layup to give Michigan the 70-48 victory.
U-M gets back to Big Ten action Wednesday (Jan. 12) when they host Northwestern at Crisler Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in Ann Arbor.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423