BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team suffered their second consecutive Big Ten road loss to a ranked opponent Saturday (Jan. 28), dropping a 76-61 decision to No. 23-ranked Indiana at Assembly Hall. The story of the game for the Wolverines (16-6, 4-3 Big Ten) was surrendering significant Hoosier scoring runs at the outset of each half, finding themselves on the short end of 11-0 and 14-3 runs, respectively, which ultimately made the difference in the 15-point loss.
The runs were particularly tough due to Michigan's trouble converting from the floor. The Wolverines finished the game shooting 35 percent (15-of-43) compared to Indiana's 51 percent (28-of-55), but were able to stay in the game thanks to solid free throw shooting, draining 29-of-35 from the foul line compared to the Hoosiers' 10-of-20.
The Maize and Blue finished with a quartet of double-digit scorers, as senior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS), senior Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) and junior Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) each led the way with 12 points apiece.
Harris showed leadership with the way he ran the floor, hitting timely shots while dishing off four assists and grabbing two steals. Abram finished 4-of-8 from the floor and 4-of-5 from the free throw line, while Coleman chipped in a career-best 9-of-9 from the charity stripe to go with one triple and three rebounds.
Senior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11, draining a season-best-tying 7-of-8 from the free-throw line to go with two field goals and six rebounds.
Michigan met a steep hill out of the gate, falling behind 11-0 in less than two minutes of play. Much of the challenge the Wolverines faced throughout the first frame was contending with the Indiana long ball; U-M converted one three-point basket over the first 20 minutes compared to the Hoosiers' eight.
The contest eventually evened out for the Wolverines thanks to sound free throw shooting and tough defense. Michigan's 11-of-14 from the foul line for the half ultimately kept them in the thick of things, as the Hoosiers continued to convert from beyond the three-point line.
After trailing 11-0, a scoring surge by Harris helped the Wolverines get back in the game with less than five minutes to play in the half. The senior point guard took control over a four-minute span, draining 3-of-4 from the charity stripe and hitting back-to-back baskets -- including a triple -- to help Michigan battle to within six (26-20).
Indiana didn't back down, however, and hit three consecutive field goals from beyond the arc to maintain its distance from U-M. Michigan stayed in the game by converting points in the paint and draining free throws; at the break, the Wolverines were within striking distance, heading into the locker room down 35-26.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the second half began much like the first, as the Hoosiers rattled off a 14-3 scoring drive over the first five minutes of play. After fighting to get within nine at the end of the first frame, the Indiana run left Michigan trailing 49-29 with 15:09 remaining in the contest.
Despite the significant deficit, the Wolverines refused to back down. Abram, freshmen Ekpe Udoh (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe HS) and Harris each posted field goals to get back within 14 and begin the comeback. But Indiana hit back-to-back triples -- its only two of the half -- to put a stop to the Michigan drive.
The Wolverines -- down 55-40 -- gave another shot to a comeback effort, becoming aggressive offensively to earn four trips to the foul line in less than three minutes. The Hoosiers also went to the charity stripe over that span, but U-M came out on top, hitting 8-of-9 compared to Indiana's 3-of-6. The advantage left Michigan within 10 (58-48) with 5:35 left to play.
As the game wound down, the Wolverines continued to hit their shots and successfully convert from the free throw line, but for every two points Michigan posted on the scoreboard, the Hoosiers responded with two of their own to keep the Maize and Blue from cutting into the 10-point deficit.
Michigan outscored the Hoosiers 32-27 after Indiana's 14-3 run to begin the half, but the Wolverines' hard-fought comeback attempt fell short, dropping their second-consecutive Big Ten road match-up 76-61.
The Wolverines return home to Crisler Arena to face Iowa Wednesday (Jan. 31) in Ann Arbor. Tipoff against the Hawkeyes is at 8 p.m., with the game broadcast as part of the ESPN-Plus package.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423