TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team fell short in its attempt to make it to the NIT Quarterfinals, dropping an 87-66 decision at Florida State Thursday (March 15) night. Despite capturing an early lead behind a wave of three point shots, the Wolverines soon suffered a draught, shooting 8-for-25 from the field in the second half. The loss ends the season for Michigan (22-13, 8-8 Big Ten), while the Seminoles (22-12, 7-9 ACC) advanced to the NIT Quarterfinals.
Playing his final game in a Michigan uniform, senior guard Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) led all Wolverines with 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting, including 3-for-8 from downtown. He also had a pair of rebounds and an assist. Senior wing Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) provided 14 points in his last action as a Wolverine, shooting 3-for-6 from the field and 7-for-8 from the foul line while recording six rebounds and a steal.
Senior center Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field and 5-for-6 shooting from the charity stripe. He also collected four rebounds and a steal.
The Wolverines jumped quickly out of the block, with four of Michigan's first six field goals coming from beyond the three-point arc en route to a 16-8 lead at 14:33 in the first half. Abram and sophomore guard Jerret Smith (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) connected on the first two triples, before Harris drained a pair of his own.
Following a six-minute scoring draught from the field, which ended on another Harris jumper, Michigan was able to preserve a 19-14 lead with just a shade less than eight minutes remaining before halftime. Harris netted two more buckets before the break for a game-leading 12 points in the first half.
The final four minutes of the first stanza proved vital for the Seminoles, as an 18-7 run gave Florida State a 41-30 halftime lead. Only freshman Ekpe Udoh (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe HS) and C. Sims were able to convert field goals during the span that began with the score knotted at 23.
The FSU lead ballooned to 55-34 after halftime until a dunk by senior Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) at 15:25 -- the first U-M field goal of the second half -- cut the deficit to less than 20 points. Lay-ups by C. Sims and freshman forward DeShawn Sims (Detroit, Mich./Pershing HS), combined with a three-pointer by Harris, trimmed the Florida State lead to 62-45 with less than eleven minutes left in the contest.
The Wolverines connected on only four field goals the rest of the game, including a pair of jumpers by junior David Merritt (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield HS). Forced to settle for free throws down the stretch, Michigan shot 20-for-27 from the foul line throughout the ballgame as compared to 20-for-48 from the field.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423
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