Event: NCAA Tournament First Round
Score: Michigan 62, #24 Clemson 59
Records: U-M (21-13),Clemson (23-9)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, March 21 -- vs. Oklahoma in NCAA Second Round (Kansas City, Mo.), 4:50 p.m. CDT
Boxscore | Notes & Quotes | Photo Gallery | Video Report | Postgame Reaction
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team built a 16-point second-half lead and hung on for a 62-59 victory over Clemson (No. 24 AP, No. 21 USA Today/ESPN) on Thursday night (March 19) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the Sprint Center. Sophomore guard Manny Harris(Detroit, Mich./Detroit Redford) scored a game-high 23 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out six assists to lead the Maize and Blue to its first NCAA Tournament victory in more than a decade and a date with No. 2 seed Oklahoma on Saturday (March 21) at 4:50 p.m. CDT.
After Clemson, the No. 7 seed in the South Region, scored the first two points of the second half, No. 10 seed Michigan went on a 9-2 run, capped by a steal and jam by freshman guard Stu Douglass(Carmel, Ind./Carmel), pushing the lead to eight, 36-28, and forcing an early Clemson timeout.
The run reached 16-2 as U-M scored the next seven after the timeout via free throws from Douglass, a triple by fifth-year senior guard C.J. Lee(Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Sutherland) and a two-handed flush from Harris, giving the Wolverines a 43-28 lead with 16:24 to play.
A 7-0 run by Clemson trimmed the U-M lead to 50-43 with 9:20 remaining, but the Maize and Blue answered with a 7-0 run to push the lead back to 56-43 and force another timeout from the Tigers.
Three straight trifectas for Clemson cut the Michigan lead to 58-52 with 3:39 remaining. The lead was then cut to just a point, 58-57, before Harris drove to the basket and converted a three-point play with 37 seconds remaining.
Another basket by Clemson trimmed the U-M lead back to two, 61-59, before freshman guard Zack Novak(Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) split a pair of free throws with 13 seconds to play, giving the Wolverines a 62-59 advantage.
A last second three-point attempt by Clemson came up empty and Michigan advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Trevor Booker led Clemson with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Clemson took an early 9-3 advantage to start the contest before an 8-0 gave U-M an 11-9 lead with 11:35 to play in the opening half. Douglass and Lee canned triples during the run before Harris gave the Wolverines the lead with a floater in the lane.
A pair of free throws by Clemson tied the contest, but back-to-back threes by junior/sophomore Anthony Wright(Sterling, Va./Oak Hill Academy) and Harris put the Maize and Blue up six, 17-11, and forced a Clemson timeout.
Out of the break, the Tigers cut the U-M lead to 19-18 before Harris converted an old-fashioned three-point play as he drove to the basket from the right wing and got fouled.
With the game knotted, 22-22, another trifecta from Harris gave U-M a three-point lead. Following a Clemson basket, Douglass banked home a 10-footer to give Michigan a 27-24 lead at halftime.
Harris led all scorers with 14 points at the intermission. He also grabbed six rebounds in the opening 20 minutes for the Wolverines, who made six three-pointers in the opening frame. Clemson was led by eight points from Booker as the Tigers shot just 27.3 percent (9-of-33) in the opening stanza.
The Maize and Blue will be back in action on Saturday (March 21) at the Sprint Center against the second-seeded Sooners on CBS. Game time is 4:50 p.m. CDT in Kansas City, Mo.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423