BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team suffered a 61-56 road defeat to Indiana Wednesday night (March 3) at Assembly Hall. The Wolverines (16-10, 7-8 Big Ten) used a 10-2 run early in the second half to go ahead by five points with 15 minutes to play, but the Hoosiers took advantage of an eight-minute U-M cold streak to slip by in the final minutes and sweep the season series. Michigan won the battle inside, outscoring Indiana 28-14 in the paint. However, U-M shot just 19-of-51 from the field in its sixth straight loss to Indiana.
Freshman Courtney Sims (Roslindale, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) and sophomore Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) led the offensive attack for Michigan, each netting 13 points and pulling down seven rebounds, and sophomore Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) chipped in 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the three-point line. Marshall Strickland led Indiana with a game-high 21 points.
The Wolverines struck first, as Abram knocked down a jumper in the opening minute of the game. Indiana responded with two unanswered dunks, but Horton connected on his first triple to put U-M back on top 5-4. Following a putback basket from Patrick Ewing Jr., Horton hit another from behind the arc to give Michigan a two-point lead at 18:00 of the first half.
Horton's triple would be Michigan's last points for over five minutes, as the Hoosiers scored five unanswered points to go ahead 11-8. A Sims jumper at 12:42 broke U-M's offensive skid and brought the Wolverines within one point. Abram was able to keep Michigan within striking distance, scoring nine straight points over the next three minutes to bring the score to 23-19 in favor of Indiana with 8:39 remaining until the break.
Michigan's defense stifled any offensive attempt by the Hoosiers over the next two minutes, as IU was able to score just one point from the free throw line during the span. The Wolverines took advantage of Indiana's offensive struggles, as Sims hit a pair of jumpers to trim the deficit to 24-23 with just over six minutes left in the half. Four unanswered points by Indiana pushed the cushion back up to five points, but sophomore Chris Hunter (Gary, Ind./West Side HS) scored six of U-M's final eight first-half points to help tie the score at 31-31 after the first 20 minutes.
Indiana opened the second half with a quick triple, but the Wolverines went on a 10-2 run to take their first lead since 16:17 of the first half. Sims accounted for four points during the spurt, while Horton put home two more triples, giving Michigan a 41-36 advantage with 15:31 left in the game. Strickland gave IU an immediate spark, connecting on two triples over the next two minutes to bring the Hoosiers within one point, 43-42.
A pair of free throws from Hunter and two baskets inside by freshman Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) were the only points Michigan could manage over the next eight minutes of the game, as Indiana reclaimed a 50-49 advantage with 7:34 to go. The Wolverines were able to stay close by getting opportunities from the free throw line, scoring their next five points from the stripe, but U-M still trailed the Hoosiers 56-54 with 2:52 remaining in the game.
Senior Bernard Robinson Jr.'s (Washington, D.C./New Hampton Prep [N.H.]) first and only basket, at 1:48, tied the score at 56-56, but Strickland hit two free throws to boost IU's lead back up to two points. A turnover by Robinson gave the Hoosiers an opportunity to increase the lead, but Strickland's jumper was off the mark. Unfortunately, Bracey Wright got his hands on the rebound and Abram was forced to foul with 29 seconds left.
Donald Perry split a pair from the line, allowing the Wolverines a chance to tie the game with a three-pointer. However, Horton's attempt did not drop and U-M had to foul once again. Indiana gave U-M another chance at the tie, as Wright missed both free throws, but Robinson's final three-pointer with four seconds left fell shy and IU went on to hit two more from the line to ice the game.
The Wolverines will close out the regular season when they head to Evanston, Ill., Saturday (March 6) to take on Northwestern. Tipoff for the regular-season finale is scheduled for 1:34 p.m. CST. Earlier this season (Jan. 7) the Maize and Blue took a 78-54 decision against the Wildcats at Crisler Arena in the Big Ten opener for both squads.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423