ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team snapped its three-game losing streak in style Wednesday night (Feb. 15), as the Wolverines downed the Minnesota Golden Gophers 72-50 in front of 11,118 fans at Crisler Arena. Michigan (17-6, 7-5 Big Ten), used exceptional three-point shooting in the early portion of the first half to garner a 29-point advantage, then rode the play of senior guard Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) in the second half, to a 22-point Michigan victory over the Gophers (12-10, 3-8 Big Ten). The win was coach Tommy Amaker's 150th career victory.
Horton, who played in his 100th career game at U-M, led a trio of Wolverines in double figures with a game-high 21 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field in addition to a perfect 8-of-8 from the foul-line. Horton also dished out five assists while recording two steals, moving into a tie for fourth on Michigan's career steals list.
Making his first start of the season, senior forward Chris Hunter (Gary, Ind./West Side HS), recorded 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting and pulled down six defensive rebounds. Hunter also tallied an assist, a block and a steal. Sophomore wing Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) had 13 points of his own on 4-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-5 from beyond the three-point arc, while collecting four rebounds and three assists.
Despite not scoring in double figures, senior forward Graham Brown (Mio, Mich./Mio-AuSable HS) provided a spark of toughness throughout the contest as he tore down a game-high nine rebounds, as well as scoring four points down low.
The Wolverines got off to a sizzling start, taking an 18-2 lead to start the ballgame. Guided by the play of Horton, who netted six points during the run, Michigan took advantage of four Gopher turnovers, translating into five U-M points. During the stretch, the Wolverines dominated the glass, enjoying a 9-to-3 advantage, with three of those rebounds coming from Hunter. The senior quad-captain produced on the other end as well, with four points, before three-pointers by Jevohn Shepherd (Toronto, Ontario/West Hills Collegiate) and Coleman gave Michigan the 16-point advantage.
A Minnesota basket by guard Adam Boone with just over 12 minutes remaining in the first half ended a 6:43 Minnesota scoreless streak, bringing the score to 18-4 in favor of the Wolverines. Continuing their hot shooting, Hunter connected on a three-pointer as Coleman drilled two more en route to a 31-6 lead with 9:36 left in the half.
Michigan's lead would reach as much as 29 multiple times during the first half, as the Wolverines attacked the low post with both Petway and Brown recording dunks. The Gophers made an attempt at a comeback late in opening period behind the play of guard Vincent Grier, who led Minnesota with seven first-half points. The U-M advantage never dipped below 23, however, as a three-pointer by Horton, Michigan's sixth of the night, gave the Wolverines a 44-20 halftime advantage.
At the break, U-M led in a variety of categories including rebounding (20 to 11) and shooting percentage (66.7 to 36.0). The Wolverines also accumulated 10 assists, as Minnesota recorded seven turnovers. Coleman, Hunter and Horton collected 11 points apiece for the Maize and Blue, with Coleman connecting on three-of-four three-pointers.
The second half opened with a 6-0 Gopher run, trimming the deficit to 44-26 with 17:51 left in the final period. Horton responded, netting 10 of Michigan's next 12 points, as the Wolverines gained a commanding 58-33 lead at the nine-minute mark. Grier continued to connect from the floor for the Gophers, but pairs of baskets by junior forward Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) and senior guard Sherrod Harrell (Kalamazoo, Mich./Central HS) shut the door on any Minnesota comeback.
The Wolverines will close out the week with a trip down I-96 to East Lansing, Mich., to face intrastate rival Michigan State (No. 16 Associated Press/No. 16 ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll), Saturday (Feb. 18) at the Breslin Center. The match-up will be featured nationally on ESPN with a 4 p.m. tipoff.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423