Wolverines Pick Up Key Win Over Rival Michigan State

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team defeated its intrastate rival Michigan State 67-56 Tuesday night (Feb. 27) in front of a raucous sellout crowd Crisler Arena. Despite trailing early, the Wolverines (20-10, 8-7 Big Ten) rebounded with a strong first half from senior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) and continued to bolster the lead by protecting the ball, ending with a season-low eight turnovers, and converting from the charity stripe, finishing with 25-for-33 shooting from the free throw line.

Harris finished with a game-high 24 points on 7-for-14 shooting, including a pair of treys. He also contributed a perfect 8-for-8 from the foul line while dishing out a pair of assists and pulling down a rebound.

Senior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) produced a double-double off the bench with 13 points on 4-for-8 shooting and collected 10 rebounds. Sims also came through on the charity stripe, draining 5-of-8 shots from the foul line.

Both teams battled to an early 15-9 Michigan State (21-9, 8-7 Big Ten) advantage at 10:36 in the first half. Five of Michigan's nine points came from the foul line, where Smith converted three straight free throws after being fouled on an attempted three-pointer. C. Sims also sank a free throw to convert a three point play after being fouled on a low-post basket.

The Wolverines battled back with a 7-0 run over the next two minutes to take a 16-15 lead at 8:48. Jump starting the Michigan run was sophomore Jerret Smith (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS), who connected on a desperation three-pointer to end a five minute field goal drought. Harris followed, connecting on a pair of midrange jumpers to pull the Wolverines ahead.

Feeding off the energy of the Crisler Arena crowd, Michigan built a 30-22 advantage with less than two minutes remaining in the half. Harris continued to be an offensive spark plug, scoring six straight Wolverine points over a three-minute span. He finished the half with 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting. Freshman DeShawn Sims (Detroit, Mich./Pershing HS) connected on a pair of buckets, including a basket at 1:53 to give U-M the eight-point advantage.

With just :01 left on the clock before the break, Harris drained a long range three-pointer to send the Wolverines into the locker room with a 32-28 lead.

The Michigan advantage ballooned to 41-31 at 15:26 in the second half behind the aerial-acrobatics of senior Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS). The senior from Georgia took flight one minute into the second stanza with a hair raising slam, increasing the U-M lead to 37-31. Petway's assault continued with an electrifying alley-oop slam from Smith, who released his pass from three-quarter court, to extend the Wolverine lead to 39-31.

Following a Spartan run that cut the Michigan State deficit 43-42, the Wolverines rebounded with a pair of three-pointers by Harris and junior Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) that increased the lead to 55-47 with 7:22 left in the game.

Michigan converted on one more field goal during the rest of the contest, but U-M connected on 10 free throws down the stretch to seal the 67-56 victory.

The Wolverines close out their home slate Saturday (March 3) against Ohio State. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m., and the game will be televised on CBS.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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