Hot Second Half Propels Wolverines Over Penn State

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team took advantage of strong second-half performances from LaVell Blanchard (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) and Bernard Robinson Jr. (Washington, D.C./New Hampton Prep. [N.H.]) to come from behind and defeat Penn State 65-58 Saturday (Feb. 9) at Crisler Arena. Michigan has won four of its last five at home and improves to 5-6 in the Big Ten with the win (10-11 overall), while Penn State falls to 6-16 overall, 2-9 in conference.


Chris Young (Plymouth, Mich./Catholic Central HS) turned in a strong game, collecting 14 points and 10 boards -- the second double-double of the season for the big man -- in addition to three blocks and a steal. The Wolverines also received an early boost from Leon Jones (Battle Creek, Mich./Winchendon Prep. [Mass.]), who scored 10 points in the game. With only four points each at the half, Blanchard went on to score a team-high 18 and Robinson finished with 13.

Throughout the first period, neither the Wolverines nor Penn State could gain significant momentum to carry the play. Michigan was able to build a five-point lead, 16-11, at 11:21 with a three-pointer from Dommanic Ingerson (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara HS) that capped a 7-0 run over the preceding two minutes.

Penn State kept close, however, with 11 points on the half from Brandon Watkins and stellar 62.5 percent shooting from behind the arc. The Nittany Lions grabbed their first lead since the 13-minute mark with a slew of threes from Jamaal Tate and Jan Jagla. Watkins' three with 45 seconds remaining put PSU ahead by four, 32-28, their largest lead of the half, but Robinson's bucket pulled U-M within 32-30 at the break.

The Wolverines were led in the first frame by Young, who posted 10 points and four boards, while Jones began the game on a tear, scoring the Maize and Blue's first five points and assisting on Young's first hoop to tie the game at seven early.

Five points by Robinson and four from Blanchard kept Michigan within striking distance to begin the second half. However, Penn State's Sharif Chambliss countered by quietly collecting seven straight points.

Michigan kept battling and tied the score at 46 just inside of the 10-minute mark with Chuck Bailey's (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King HS) first points of the afternoon, a mid-range jumper off an assist from Avery Queen (San Moreno, Calif./Redemption Christian Academy [N.Y.]). Penn State's three-point attack remained strong, and triples from Tyler Smith and Chambliss re-established the lead with 8:38 remaining.

The Wolverines responded, however, by outscoring the Nittany Lions 12-2 going into the final minute of play to establish a six-point lead. Michigan received two baskets apiece from Blanchard and Robinson during the run, as well as inspired play from Queen, who converted a steal into an uncontested layup at 3:33.

With a 60-54 lead inside of one minute, Michigan took advantage of its free throw opportunities by converting 5-of-6 to extend the lead. Penn State, however, only made 3-of-8 from the free throw line down the stretch, as Michigan came back to win 65-58.

The Wolverines head into the Rocky Mountains to take on Colorado State on Monday (Feb. 11), with the tip scheduled for 7 p.m. MST in Fort Collins, Colo.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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