ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team dropped its fifth straight game Wednesday night (Feb. 2), falling 71-54 to Minnesota in front of 11,181 fans at Crisler Arena. The Wolverines found themselves in a hole early, heading into halftime trailing 38-27 after the hot-shooting Gophers hit 69.6 percent (11-of-20) from the field in the first half. Michigan attempted a comeback in the second frame, helped by a 17-point performance from junior Chris Hunter (Gary, Ind./West Side HS), but the Wolverines were unable to overcome the steady shooting of the Gophers, who finished with a sizzling 62.8-percent from field.
Hunter led the Wolverines with 17 points and five rebounds, shooting 5-for-9 from the field with a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. Junior Graham Brown (Mio, Mich./Mio-AuSable HS) chipped in with nine points, shooting 4-for-4 from the field with three rebounds. Sophomore John Andrews (West Bloomfield, Mich./Orchard Lake St. Mary's) added eight points, two assists, and two steals, while Sherrod Harrell (Kalamazoo, Mich./Central HS) recorded a career-best seven points on 3-of-6 shooting.
The Gophers jumped out to an early four-point lead to lead off the game, but the Wolverines quickly bounced back with four of their own on a Brown fade-away jump-hook followed up by a crowd pleasing Petway dunk. After a Minnesota basket, Michigan took a 7-6 advantage on a Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) three pointer from the wing with 17:03 remaining.
After a Brown free throw brought the score to an 8-8 tie (16:26), Andrews and Hunter combined for the Wolverines' next 13 points. Hunter got the Michigan scoring started with a shot off the glass before giving way to a 12-2 Gopher run. Hunter stayed strong however, and helped the Wolverines back on the board with a dunk at the 11:01 mark, to cut the Minnesota lead to 22-14. Andrews followed Hunter's lead by connecting on a three-pointer from the corner followed by a pair of free throws to bring Michigan back within five at 19-24 with 8:12 left.
A Hunter field goal brought U-M to within three (24-21) with 6:47 left, but Minnesota answered with an 8-2 run to stretch their lead to 32-23 with 3:43 remaining in the first period. Both teams finished out the half trading buckets before going into the locker room with a 38-27 Minnesota advantage.
Coming out of the break, the Gophers picked up where they left off, going on a 7-2 run to broaden their lead to 45-29 with 17:27 left. The Wolverines battled back with a 9-2 run of their own, highlighted by a Hunter three pointer to bring the score to 47-38 with 12:16 remaining in the second frame.
Despite a fiery performance by Harrell, who scored seven of Michigan's next nine points, the Wolverines were unable to overcome the consistent shooting of the Gophers. The Wolverines were never able to cut the Gopher lead below nine in the second half as Minnesota finished with 62.8 percent (27-for-43) from the field to take the 71-54 win from Michigan.
The Wolverines will next travel to Columbus, Ohio, to face Ohio State on Saturday (Feb. 5) at 12:17 p.m.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423