Harris' Double-Double Not Enough in U-M Loss to Illinois

Feb. 23, 2010

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• Audio Quotes: Coach John Beilein - Radio Show | Presser | Manny Harris | Zack Novak

Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Arena)
Score: Illinois 51, Michigan 44
Records: U-M (13-14, 6-9 Big Ten), Illinois (18-10, 10-5 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Feb. 27 -- at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio), Noon (TV: ESPN)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team, looking to beat Illinois in their only matchup of the season, fell 51-44, on Tuesday (Feb. 23) at Crisler Arena. Junior guard Manny Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford) led all scorers with 15 points and 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season and 11th of his career.

Michigan came out strong in the opening half, forcing Illinois into two turnovers in its first two possessions. U-M also scored the first basket when sophomore forward Zack Novak (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) converted a three-pointer. However, the energy shifted as Illinois went on an 11-0 run to seize control. Michigan did not get another basket until the 13:26 mark, on another Novak three-point field goal.

The Wolverines were hoping to start a streak but missed five straight shots, four coming from behind the three-point line. Finally, with Illinois leading 15-6, senior center Zack Gibson (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) came off the bench and made a three-pointer on his first shot of the game with 9:03 left in the half.

Michigan then went through another long scoring drought, until senior forward DeShawn Sims (Detroit, Mich./Pershing)maneuvered around the basket to convert a tough layup on an assist from Gibson, in one of the rare times the two big men have played together this season.

Michigan struggled to score in the half, shooting 6-of-30 (20 percent) from the field. With 46 seconds left in the half, Novak knocked down his third three-pointer, but the Wolverines went into the locker room trailing, 26-18.

The Wolverines came out in the second half ready to fight. Harris started a 9-0 run for the Wolverines on backdoor layup, followed by Novak's fourth triple of the game. However, it was a steal by freshman guard Darius Morris (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward)and an emphatic one-handed dunk by Harris that brought the crowd to its feet, and Michigan only trailed by one (26-25).

Michigan also came out with a strong defense effort, keeping the Illini scoreless for first the 5:17 of the half until Illinois forward Mike Davis scored on a fast-break dunk. But with Sims going to the bench at the 15:44 mark after picking up two quick fouls, the momentum shifted back to Illinois, which went on an 8-3 run to go up 34-31, with Michigan shooting 1-of-7 (14 percent) from the field until Sims returned to the game with 10:37 left.

With 1:08 remaining in the game and U-M down 48-40, Sims attempted to bring Michigan back into the game. After a quick bucket, Michigan forced Illinois guard Demetri McCamey into a backcourt violation and Illinois' 17th turnover of the game. However, Harris missed a layup on Michigan's next possession and forced the team to foul the rest of the way, sealing the win for Illinois.

The Wolverines finished shooting 16-of-65 (24.6 percent) from the field and 6-of-31 (19.4 percent) from behind the three-point line.

The Wolverines travel to Columbus, Ohio, to play No. 9 Ohio State on Saturday (Feb. 27). Tipoff is scheduled for noon and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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