ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team opened its 2006-07 season today (Nov. 2) with an 85-51 exhibition win over Wayne State at Crisler Arena.
The Wolverines used stifling defense to hold the Warriors to just 16 first half points, limiting to Wayne State to just 18.5-percent from the floor (5-for-27), and holding WSU scoreless for almost seven minutes. Michigan built up a 20-point lead by halftime, which was never relinquished as the Maize and Blue controlled play throughout the second half en route to the victory.
Fifth-year senior Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) led a trio of double-digit scorers with a team-high 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting, including 3-for-4 downtown and a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. Abram also collected two rebounds and a pair of assists in 24 minutes of action. Senior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) complemented Abram in the backcourt, with 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting in addition to tallying six rebounds, five assists and a steal.
Rounding out the double-digit scorers was freshman Reed Baker (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) who finished with 13 points on 4-for-4 shooting, all coming from three-point range. He also had five rebounds and an assist. Senior Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) added five points, eight defensive rebounds, two assists and four blocks.
After a slow start, featuring a pair of turnovers by both teams, the Wolverines entered the game's first timeout at 14:35 with a 10-3 advantage. Leading the charge for U-M was Abram, who connected on two three-pointers, including a long ball from the left-wing, during a 4-on-2 fast break situation at 16:54. The senior captain connected on the next trip down court with another three, this time on the opposite side of the court, giving the Wolverines a 6-3 lead at 16:15 in the first half. Petway and senior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough HS) completed Abram's hot outside shooting with a bucket apiece, giving Michigan the early seven-point lead and forcing a WSU timeout.
Out of the break, Wayne State cut the U-M advantage to 10-8 on a Jason Saddler lay-up and a three-point field goal by guard Will Pierce. The Warriors' two-point deficit would be their smallest of the remaining first stanza, as the Wolverines began to mount an overwhelming 20-point halftime lead.
The Wolverines' strong play continued, putting the defensive clamps on Wayne State with Petway keying the U-M intensity with four first half blocks, sparking a Maize and Blue 15-3 run over the next six and a half minutes to put the score at 29-11with 3:56 left before halftime. Harris produced eight points during the run, with two long range triples. His first three, at 8:45, came from NBA range, giving Michigan a 17-10 lead.
The teams exchanged baskets for the remainder of the first half, but a pair of free-throws by Abram, with just five-seconds left, gave Michigan a 36-16 advantage at the break.
The second half picked up right where the Wolverines left off, as their swarming defense --balanced with good offensive execution -- was too much for the Warriors. U-M went on a 10-2 run to open the half, building a 28-point lead, 46-18.
Wayne State tried to find a little breathing room, as the Warriors went on a 14-7 run over the next five minutes to trim the Wolverine lead to 21. The lead, however, was too much for Wayne State to overcome, as two triples from Baker, during a 14-0 U-M run, helped push the Michigan advantage to 67-32 with 7:51 left in the ballgame.
Despite a small 7-0 spurt by Wayne State late in the contest, U-M closed out the Warriors as redshirt-freshman Kendric Price (Boston, Mass./Buckingham Browne & Nichols HS) finished with seven of the last 13 Maize and Blue points, including two rim rattling dunks off turnovers, solidifying a 85-51 Wolverine win.
The Wolverines return to Crisler Arena on Sunday (Nov. 5), hosting Michigan Tech for their second and final exhibition game of the season, with tipoff at 2 p.m.
To order tickets, call the Michigan Athletic Ticket Office at (866) 296-MTIX or (734) 764-0247, log on to mgoblue.com/tickets, or visit the U-M Ticket Office on the first floor of Weidenbach Hall.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423
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