ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team opened its 2004-05 season with a rousing 59-46 comeback victory over Binghamton University in front of 9,162 fans at Crisler Arena. The Wolverines' win was helped greatly by their accuracy at the free throw line as the Maize and Blue shot a close-to-perfect 21-for-23 from the charity stripe. The bonus points for the Wolverines ultimately gave them a 10-point advantage over Binghamton and played a major part in key Michigan drives.
Harris scored 14 of his 16 points after intermission.
The major turnaround in the contest came close to midway through the second half. After trailing the Bearcats for the majority of the contest, Michigan stormed back with a furious comeback led by an eye-popping alley-oop from junior Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS)
to sophomore Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS)
. The dunk gave the Wolverines their first lead since 17:00 minutes left in the first half, and U-M never looked back.
The Wolverines went on to secure the win thanks to a 12-0 run led by sophomore Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS). Harris helped to extend the lead with seven straight points in the heart of the Michigan run, resulting in an eventual 12-point lead. The shooting guard guided the Wolverines to victory, hitting 10 of Michigan's final 16 points and finishing the game with 16 points, four assists and one steal.
Horton led the team in scoring with 17 points, including 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. He went 5-for-10 from the floor including a perfect 3-for-3 from the line with four assists and one steal. Sophomore forward Courtney Sims (Roslindale, Mass/Noble & Greenough School) and junior wing Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) each turned in eight points.
Neither team could get much going in the first half as the score stalled at a Binghamton 9-5 lead with 13:22 left in the first half. With both teams shooting 33 percent from the field, offensive baskets became few and far between. The Bearcats put up the only points in a low-scoring stint, going 7-0 against Michigan for almost four minutes for a 12-5 lead.
Michigan ended its four-minute scoring drought with a Hunter basket, cutting the Binghamton lead to five with a 12-7 score. Sims added Michigan's first offensive rebound with 10 minutes remaining, which was followed by a Horton floater in the lane, bringing the Wolverines within four points with 9:05 left in the half.
The Bearcats then unleashed an aerial assault on the Wolverines, connecting on four three-pointers, including three consecutive hits from beyond the arc. Binghamton's Joe White led the way with two buckets, including a shot-clock buzzer-beater from the corner. After another White basket, the Bobcats established a 29-17 lead with 3:49 remaining in the first half.
Remaining patient and confident, Michigan responded as the half wound down with 11-3 run, jumpstarted by seven consecutive free throws, including four by Horton. The run was capped off by back-to-back field goals from Harris and Sims to help the Wolverines within four (32-28) at halftime.
Out of the locker rooms, the Maize and Blue continued to turn up the defensive intensity by holding the Bearcats scoreless for more than five minutes, while scoring nine points of their own. Michigan then took off on its offensive outburst, highlighted by Petway's dunk, giving the Wolverines their first lead since just three minutes into the first half. The drive led Michigan to its 59-46 victory, as U-M held Binghamton to just five points for the remainder of the contest.
Michigan's next game will be on Wednesday (Nov. 17) when it takes Colorado, which defeated College of Charleston 72-57 Monday night in Boulder, Colo. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at Crisler Arena.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423