U-M Falls Behind Early, Never Recovers at Northwestern

EVANSTON, Ill. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team dropped a 69-53 decision to Northwestern, Saturday (Feb. 26), at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Wolverines (13-16 overall, 4-11 Big Ten) were fighting an uphill battle from the start after falling into a 28-4 hole in the first 10 minutes of play. The determined Maize and Blue continued to play hard, however, and cut the gap to 10 early in the second half. But Northwestern's three-point shooting would prevail, as they drained a season-best 12 triples on 55 percent (12-of-22) shooting compared to Michigan's 15 percent (2-of-13) from long range.

The Wolverines had a trio of double-digit scorers, with sophomore Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) leading the way, putting up 12 tallies to go along with three rebounds and three assists. Sophomore Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) and freshman Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) each turned in 11 points. Petway was a driving force on both the offense and defensive ends for the Wolverines, swatting away six blocked shots, bringing down three rebounds and recording a career-best-tying three steals. Coleman turned in the 11th double-digit performance of his young career, hitting 4-of-9 from the field with three boards while dishing off one assist.

Michigan had trouble early as Northwestern put on its full-court press, contributing to seven U-M turnovers in the first eight minutes of play. The Wildcats had no problem with their offense, draining five triples, to help them to 24 points while holding the Wolverines to just two free throws with 12 minutes to go in the half. An alley-oop dunk to Petway finally put a field goal on the board for the Wolverines, but the Maize and Blue still trailed 24-4 with 11:54 remaining.

Northwestern extended its lead to 30-6 before Michigan finally hit a rhythm on the offensive end. For the remainder of the half, the Maize and Blue outscored the Wildcats 17-6 thanks to the trio of Petway, Coleman and Harris, which combined for all of Michigan's tallies. Petway sparked the drive with a three-point play before Harris hit one from long range to cut the lead to 30-12 with 5:17 remaining.

After Northwestern split a pair of free throws, Coleman put up his first two of the night before Harris quickly followed with a bucket of his own to put Michigan within 14 (31-6) with four minutes left in the half. The Wolverines finished its scoring drive with a Petway basket followed by five-straight tallies from Coleman. With just a 10-point deficit (33-23), Michigan looked to be in good shape heading into the locker rooms. But before the buzzer sounded, the Wildcats hit their sixth triple of the half to keep Michigan at bay, 36-23, at the break.

Michigan came out fighting in the second half, rattling off 12 points in the first seven minutes of play. Junior Sherrod Harrell (Kalamazoo, Mich./Central HS) began the Wolverine scoring with a three-point play, followed by a Harris put-back on a Petway miss. After a Northwestern triple, Coleman continued his aggressive play with his third bucket of the night, to put the Wolverines to within 11 with 15:27 remaining. Northwestern hit another three-point basket before Harris and Petway each put up two points to get Michigan within 10 (45-35) with 12:55 on the clock.

Though the Wolverines held the momentum and control of the floor during their scoring drive, the Wildcats lived on the three-point line to keep their double-digit lead safe. Northwestern hit just five field goals for the first 10 minutes of play, but all of those field goals were triples. Michigan couldn't keep the pace with Northwestern, going 0-for-5 from long range during that stretch.

Though Michigan reached to within 10 (45-35) with 12:55 on the clock, Northwestern followed up with a 10-2 run to ultimately secure the lead. The Wolverines maintained a steady stream of scoring for the remainder of the contest, outscoring the Wildcats 16-14 for the final 7:14 of play. But the double-digit deficit suffered at the outset of the contest stayed for the duration as Michigan dropped the 69-53 decisions to Northwestern.

Michigan will play its final regular-season contest of the season, Saturday (March 5), against Iowa at Crisler Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:17 p.m.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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