ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team opened its 2003-04 season today (Saturday, Nov. 8) with a 73-61 exhibition win over Michigan Tech at Crisler Arena. Sophomore guard Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) led all scorers with 23 points while grabbing eight rebounds, and sophomore wing Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) notched a near double-double on 11 points and nine boards. Freshman guard Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) shined with 17 points, including three three-point baskets.
Horton's all-around effort included 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Michigan Tech's Josh Buettner made it 2-0 to start the game. A Horton three-pointer and added free throw turned it around though, 4-2. A reverse layup by Abram pushed it to 6-2. After nearly four minutes without a basket, MTU received a three-point basket from Jeff McHenry. Senior/junior forward J.C. Mathis (Brooklyn, N.Y./John F. Kennedy HS)
made good on one of his free throws to give the Wolverines a 7-5 edge with 15:38 remaining in the first half.
Harris came out of a break with back-to-back treys from the left corner and top of the key, respectively, to give U-M a 13-5 lead. However, the Huskies responded with a 9-0 run over the next few minutes to take a 14-13 lead. The teams traded baskets and one-point leads until Bob Evans hit a three to grab a 21-19 lead for MTU with 9:44 to play.
U-M attempted to pull away from the Huskies when it picked up a rebound and fed Harris for his third three-pointer of the half at 6:03 to take a 25-23 edge. A Mathis putback pushed it to 27-23. Consecutive hoops from Jason Maes and Evans re-tied the game though. A dunk by freshman forward Courtney Sims (Roslindale, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) and layup allowed the Wolverines to take a 31-27 lead with 2:58 remaining.
Out of the timeout, Evans hit a three and Maes turned a rebound into an easy bucket to earn an MTU lead, 32-31, with 1:46 left. A skip pass from Horton to Abram and an ensuing three-pointer made it 34-32. Jason Marcotte responded though, as a three-pointer made it a 35-34 Huskies lead at the break.
Out of halftime, Horton nailed a trey, but a Huskies' jumper tied the game at 37-37 with just over 18 minutes on the clock. Harris went to the free throw line and made both to push the score to 42-40 Michigan. Maes then split a pair of free throws at the other end of the court for Tech. Horton quickly answered with another three-pointer with just under 16 minutes remaining. That was Horton's third three-pointer of the game. Horton then began the fast break after a turnover and dished to Abram for the layup. After another turnover for Tech, Horton found Abram again for another fast break layup for a 7-0 run for the Wolverines and a 49-41 lead.
Buettner ended a nearly four-minute drought by splitting a pair of free throws. Horton wasted no time, answering with a jumper from the right baseline for a nine-point lead, Michigan's largest to that point. After Mathis split a pair of free throws, giving U-M a 10-point lead, the teams traded three-pointers. Buettner connected for Tech while sophomore guard Sherrod Harrell (Kalamazoo, Mich./Central HS) hit from beyond the arc for the Wolverines.
Out of the timeout, Tech's McHenry got free in the paint for an uncontested layup to cut the lead to eight. Harris answered for U-M with a jumper of his own with 11:12 remaining. Simms hit two free throws for the first points in over two minutes for either team. Ross hit two free throws for Tech, trimming the Wolverine lead back to 10 points. After a Horton miss at the charity stripe, Harris stripped Tech's Marcotte and converted a layup at the other end. Abram then extended the U-M lead to 13 with a jumper from the baseline. Sims found his rhythm at the foul line, making a pair to take the Wolverines into the timeout with a 65-52 advantage with six and a half minutes to play.
Horton beat the shot clock with a jumper from the top of the key, giving him 20 points in the game. Richardson answered for Tech with a three-pointer from the wing. Horton was then fouled on a three-pointer and drilled two of three free throws. Tech called a timeout to slow the Wolverine attack with 3:21 to go in the game.
Marcotte tried to get the Michigan Tech offense going with a three-pointer from the wing that cut the U-M lead to 11. From that point, the Wolverines worked the ball around and in turn grinded the clock down as well. McHenry continued the barrage from three-point land with one of his own to cut the lead to eight. Michigan preserved the 73-61 win with free throws down the stretch.
Michigan's second and final exhibition contest will be at 7 p.m. on Friday (Nov. 14) when the Wolverines host Fayetteville of the NBDL at Crisler Arena.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423