ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team defeated the Northwestern Wildcats, 68-51, Wednesday (Jan. 18) in front of 10,123 fans at Crisler Arena. Shooting a lights-out season-high 65.2 percent, on 30-of-46 from the field, the Wolverines overcame a back and forth first half, by holding the Wildcats to just 6-of-21 shooting in the second half.
Senior Lester Abram's (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) game high 20-points, on 9-of-12 shooting led the way for the Wolverines offense. In 34-minutes of action, Abram produced four assists and one steal, while draining two first half three-pointers. Junior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) netted 15-points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field, including three buckets from downtown, while dishing out three assists.
Senior Chris Hunter (Gary, Ind./West Side HS) and sophomore Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) came off the bench to score eight points apiece, as both combined for a perfect seven-of-seven from the floor.
Abram jumpstarted the Michigan effort, as the Pontiac native poured in eight of Michigan's first 13 points of the ball game, including two three-point bombs. A three by Harris combined with a Sims dunk gave Michigan an early 13-9 advantage at the 13-minute mark.
Harris continued his hot streak from the floor as his mid-range jumper concluded a U-M 10-2 run, extending the Michigan lead to 17-9 at 11:48. The Wildcats clawed back quickly, with a 7-2 jaunt that featured a pair of back-door cuts, trimming the Michigan lead to 19-16 with 9:17 left in the first half.
After trading baskets, a Michigan 9-2 run would give the Wolverines a 30-20 lead, its largest of the first half. The run, which came strictly on three-point chunks, began on a lay-up and free throw by junior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School). Long balls by Harris and Coleman followed in consecutive trips down court, increasing the U-M lead to ten, with just a shade over seven minutes remaining in the first half.
The Michigan offense abruptly cooled off as the Wolverines connected on just four more field-goals the rest of the period, two of which came from the duo of Abram and Harris. The remaining buckets came on slam-dunks by junior forward Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS), with the second coming off a rim rattling alley-oop from senior Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS). The dunk sent the Maize-and-Blue into the lockeroom with a 38-31 halftime advantage.
The Wolverines shot an incredible 16-for-21 (76.2 percent) from the field during the first half, as Abram knocked down all five of his shots, including two-for-two from beyond the arc, on his way to 12-points. Harris also pitched in with two three-pointers of his own for 10 first half points on four-for-five shooting.
The second half, began in much of the same fashion as the first, as Michigan opened up a 47-32 lead behind a pair of baskets by Abram. Northwestern finally scored its first field goal of the second half at 14:43 with a basket by forward Verdran Vukusic.
Four baskets by Hunter ballooned the U-M advantage to 60-38 with nine minute left in the second half. Northwestern tried to gain breathing room later in the ballgame, but Michigan answered each Wildcat basket with a bucket of its own.
After opening with Michigan's first basket of the night, Abram concluded the U-M scoring effort with a jumper at 3:29, putting the finishing touches on a 68-51 victory.
The Wolverines will hit the road once again as they travel to Minneapolis, Minn., Saturday (Jan. 21) to play Minnesota at Williams Arena. The game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. tipoff and will be broadcast as part of the ESPN-Plus, regional package.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423
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