ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team remained undefeated on the season (3-0), soundly defeating Eastern Michigan 80-51 Sunday afternoon (Nov. 12) at Crisler Arena. Never trailing in the contest, the Wolverines mounted a 30-point halftime lead, resulting from a 21-2 first half run, to defeat the intrastate rival Eagles in their third game of the John Thompson Challenge.
The Wolverines dominated the post, holding a decisive 44-to-14 advantage in points in the paint. Patrolling the lane was senior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough HS), who came away with a game-high 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field and 5-for-6 from the foul-line. Sims also added four rebounds, a block and an assist. Senior Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) tallied 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the field, nine rebounds, three assists and a block.
Freshman DeShawn Sims (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Pershing HS) recorded nine points on 4-for-6 shooting, four rebounds, three blocks and two assists. Sophomore Jevohn Shepherd (Toronto, Ontario/West Hills Collegiate HS) returned from a one game absence, scoring seven points on 3-for-7 shooting while adding four steals, three rebounds, one block and an assist.
John Thompson Challenge Most Valuable Player, senior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) registered five points on a three-pointer and a pair of free-throws. Harris dished five assists while recording three steals, three rebounds and a block in 18 minutes of action.
The Wolverines jumped off the starting block, taking an early 11-2 lead, paced by two hair-raising dunks by Petway. Senior Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) found Petway deep in the paint for his first slam, while Harris found "Air Georgia" on the next trip up court, streaking down the lane for an electrifying one-handed stuff at 18:01.
A quick 7-0 spurt by the Eagles cut the Michigan lead to 11-9, but two consecutive field goals by junior Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS), including a three-pointer from the corner, widened the U-M advantage to 16-11 at 13:33. From that point forward, EMU would only scoring nine points the rest of the half as a pesky Wolverine defense forced 10 turnovers, holding the Eagles to 7-for-28 from the field (25-percent) in route to a 50-20 halftime lead.
On the offensive end, Michigan was paced by Sims, who took control of the low-post with 15-points in the first 20-minutes of action. The senior center was the focal point of the Wolverines' 21-2 run that lasted from 13:09-to-6:28, pouring in 10 points that included three baby hooks from inside the lane. Sims' gained help from a pair of baskets down low by both D. Sims and Shepherd during the offensive explosion. Thirty of Michigan's 50-first half points came from inside the paint.
Shepard led Maize and Blue defensively in the first half with three steals, in addition to seven points and two rebounds. Petway matched his six defensive boards with six opening half points. Each of the 11 Wolverines that checked in scored during the first half.
The Michigan defense continued to stay sharp into the second half, holding EMU to just one field goal in the first five minutes of play. Keeping the Eagle offensive attack grounded, the U-M lead soared to 72-39 on a low-post bucket by freshman K'Len Morris (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc HS) with 7:54 left in the game.
Coach Tommy Amaker used the luxury of a big lead to clear his bench with just over three-minutes to go in the game. Younger Wolverines such as freshman Reed Baker (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) and redshirt freshman Kendric Price (Boston, Mass./ Buckingham Browne & Nichols School) were able to gain quality minutes in a game situation. In a night of breathtaking dunks, Price may have had the best of the night with his strong, two-handed jam at 2:28, putting an exclamation point on the Wolverine victory.
With the three-game weekend completed, the Wolverines will conclude the John Thompson Challenge hosting a host-vs-host finale game Wednesday (Nov. 15) against UW-Milwaukee. Like the Wolverines, the Panthers hosted their own portion of the John Thompson Challenge in Milwaukee.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423