ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team snapped a two-game losing streak with a 76-53 win against Penn State, Wednesday (Feb. 18), at Crisler giving the Maize and Blue its fifth conference victory. The Wolverines put in a strong defensive showing and a balanced offense against the Lions to help them establish and maintain their lead for the duration. Senior Bernard Robinson Jr. (Washington, D.C./New Hampton Prep [N.H.]) had another solid performance which included 11 points, seven rebounds, three steals and a career-high-tying eight assists.
Robinson stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals in 33 minutes.
Guard Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS)
led the team in scoring with 16, going 6-for-13 from the field and coming down with five boards. Forward Courtney Sims (Roslindale, Mass./Noble & Greenough School)
and guard Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS)
completed the double-digit scorers for the Wolverines. Sims had 13 points, going a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, being a solid presence in the paint for Michigan during his playing time. Horton had 11 on the evening including three triples and five assists, giving the Wolverines a strong performance in the first half to help establish their early lead.
The Wolverines (14-8, 5-6 Big Ten) came out in the first half showing good hustle on both ends of the court. They were able to pass the ball effectively on offense, going to the post to gain key points. They rattled off a quick 11-3 run in the first 3:30 minutes to set the tone for the half. The scoring spree was highlighted with back-to-back triples from Horton, which secured Michigan its early lead.
Despite Michigan's quick take-over, Penn State fought back to remain in the game. The Lions gained momentum thanks to good three-point shooting from guard Marlon Smith who hit 4-of-5 from the long line for the half. With a 16-8 lead at 13:12, the Wolverines sunk into a four-minute two-point drought against Penn State's nine to cut Michigan's lead to a 18-15 score.
The Wolverines would not allow the Lions any closer to gaining the lead as help from center Graham Brown (Mio, Mich./Mio-AuSable HS) and Sims in the post helped Michigan to an eight-point lead with 5:51 left in the half. Although Penn State's Davis hit his fourth triple of the half, Michigan stayed strong to close out the half.
Forward Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) also put in a good performance for the half, adding more to his career highlight reel with two slams to cap off a five-point performance for the final 2:21 of play. His final point came in the form of a free throw to help Michigan finish the first 20 minutes of play with a 35-27 lead.
Michigan was all business at the start of the second half, leaving Penn State in the dust for good thanks to a 24-8 scoring drive over the first 8:20 of play. Abram went on a tear, scoring 11 of Michigan's points including back-to-back buckets and two free throws. Forward Chris Hunter (Gary Ind./West Side HS) also entered the game, converting a three-point play to conclude the run with Michigan leading 59-35 with 11:40 remaining.
Scoring would be head-to-head for the rest of the contest, allowing Michigan to carry its lead into the game's conclusion. After the Wolverines put together their 14-point lead, they went on to have 17 more tallies against Penn State's 18. Michigan was able to hold Penn State at a distance while maintaining enough of a point total to secure the win.
Sims continued to have a good game, burning the Lions in the paint with two slams and a put back off the board. He finished the evening with 13 points including two blocks and one steal. Hunter also stayed strong throughout the rest of the half, rounding out his performance with another three-point play to give him a six-point total to add to two blocks.
With Michigan up 76-53 with 1:42 remaining in game time, head coach Tommy Amaker put in his reserves to close out the victory for the Wolverines. Forward Colin Dill (Saginaw, Mich./Birmingham Country Day), guard Dani Wohl (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield HS), guard Ashtyn Bell (Oak Park, Ill./Fenwick HS), center Amadou Ba (Mauritania, Africa/Bridgton Academy HS [Maine]), and wingman John Andrews (West Bloomfield, Mich./ Orchard Lake St. Mary's HS) entered the contest to secure the win. The five were able to keep Penn State from scoring as the clock ticked down and the Wolverines had the official 76-53 win.
The Wolverines will remain at home for the second of their four straight home games, when the Maize and Blue will take on Wisconsin, Sunday (Feb. 22), at Crisler Arena. The game against the Badgers will be nationally broadcast on CBS with a 2:06 p.m. tipoff. The Wolverines lost earlier this season to the Badgers, 74-63, at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423