ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team snapped its four game losing streak, defeating the Minnesota Gophers 82-80 in front of 10,259 fans Saturday night (Feb. 10) at Crisler Arena. Trailing by nine points at halftime, the Wolverines (17-8,5-5 Big Ten) battled through foul trouble and strong play from the Gopher (9-16,3-8 Big Ten) bench to take the lead midway through the second half and never look back. Shooting a blistering 14-for-19 (73.7 percent) in the second stanza, Michigan was able to hold off a late Minnesota run. Senior Brent Petway (McDonough,Ga./Griffin HS) led the charge for the Wolverines in the second half, scoring 16 of his career high 18 points in the second stanza.
Petway's record came on a career-high 7-for-9 shooting from the field. He also netted four free throws and pulled down seven rebounds. Senior Dion Harris (Detroit,Mich./Redford HS) led the Wolverines in scoring with a career-high 27 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the field, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc and 9-for-10 from the foul line. He added three assists and three steals.
Fifth-year senior Lester Abram (Pontiac,Mich./Northern HS) contributed 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting including two treys. He also posted a pair of assists and two boards. Junior Ron Coleman (Romulus,Mich./Romulus HS) rounded out the double-digit scoring from the Wolverines with 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting, including 2-for-3 from three-point land. He also pulled down five rebounds.
Minnesota started off hot, taking a 13-8 advantage into the game's first timeout at 14:43. Shooting 75-percent on 6-for-8 shooting, the Gophers established themselves down low with forwards Dan Coleman and Brandon Smith contributing a pair of baskets. Abram led the way for Michigan in the early going with two baskets.
Turning defensive, the Wolverines gained a 14-13 lead following a steal by Harris, who drove the length of the court for a basket and foul. Harris' hoop came seconds after his first three-pointer of the night, which cut the deficit to one possession. He would finish with a game high 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting in the first half.
Now trailing, the Gophers turned up the offensive intensity with a 14-5 run to take a 27-19 lead, with just under six minutes before halftime. Only Abram and Harris would tally baskets during the stretch. The Minnesota lead would sneak to nine, 32-23, before the end of the first half, but the game would also come as close as three, 32-29, following a series of baskets by Harris and sophomore Jevohn Shepherd (Toronto,Ontario/West Hills Collegiate HS).
The Wolverines entered the halftime break trailing 42-33. Half (21) of the Gopher's points came from the Minnesota bench,with D. Coleman netting a team high 11 points. The Gopher's also scored 11 points off of eight Michigan turnovers.
Through the first six minutes of the second half, the Wolverines used nine points by Petway and five points by Harris to keep pace with the Gophers, which spread the ball to center Spencer Tollackson and guard Lawrence McKenzie as both came away with baskets.
Trailing by a bucket with less than 12 minutes left on the clock, R. Coleman connected on back-to-back three pointers to take a 59-57 lead at 10:24. With the Crisler Arena crowd on the edge of its seat, Abram stretched the lead to 63-57 at 8:25, following a Gopher turnover. The basket capped off a 10-2 Wolverine run and gave the Maize and Blue its largest lead to that point.
Over the following two and half minutes, Michigan came away with just one basket to preserve a 65-62 advantage at 7:16. The Wolverines would produce only two field goals the rest of the night, but a series of 11 free throws down the stretch, including four by both Harris and sophomore Jerret Smith (Romulus,Mich./Romulus HS) iced the 82-80 comeback victory.
The Wolverines have a few days off before heading to East Lansing, Mich., to take on interstate rival Michigan State Tuesday (Feb. 13) at the Breslin Center. Tipoff between the Wolverines and Spartans is scheduled for 9 p.m. with the game broadcast on ESPN.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423