ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team gained its second victory of the season and advanced to the Preseason NIT semifinals after defeating Colorado 69-60 Wednesday night (Nov. 17) in front of 9,385 fans at Crisler Arena. In a game in which Colorado never led, the Wolverines jumped out early on the on the Buffaloes with a 16-4 lead, which was strong enough to sustain a furious Colorado rally at the end the game.
Sims scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his third career double-double.
Sophomore Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS)
led a trio of double-digit scorers for the Wolverines, going 7-for-12 from the field, including three triples, for a game-high 24 points, which is also a new career high. Sophomore Courtney Sims (Roslindale, Mass./Noble & Greenough School)
added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds to go along with five blocks. Junior Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS)
contributed 12 points, going 6-for-7 from the free throw line.
Michigan exploded on the court, going on a 14-2 run to begin the game. The run was highlighted by all five starters scoring in addition to two steals by junior Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS). Junior Graham Brown (Mio, Mich./Mio-AuSable HS) produced two buckets during the run including a hook shot in the lane over Colorado's Lamont Arrington.
After an assist on a Harris three-pointer that pushed the score to 19-6, sophomore Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) got into the scoring action himself. Horton found Petway streaking across the baseline and threw up an alley-oop dunk that set the crowd into an uncontrolled frenzy. The dunk extended the Wolverines lead to 21-6 with 13:38 remaining in the first half. On the next trip down floor, Petway returned the favor by assisting Horton, who pulled up beyond the arc and drained his second bucket of the half, extending the lead to 24-8 with 13:08 left.
Colorado responded by going on quick 8-0 run in 44 seconds, cutting the lead to 24-16 with 12:08 remaining in the half. The run was fueled by Colorado's Chris Copeland, who made two three-point baskets. The four-minute Michigan drought allowed Colorado to cut the lead to 10 at 26-16, but Harris answered with a layup and foul over Arrington.
After trading baskets for several minutes, Harris connected on two more key baskets. The first bucket, a three-pointer from the wing, extended the lead to 38-25 with 3:05 remaining. With 1:15 on the clock, Harris drove the lane and extended the lead to 15 points on a thunderous dunk.
Michigan entered the locker room with a 40-25 lead. Harris led the Wolverines, going 6-for-9 from the field for 15 first-half points, while Sims contributed six boards. Colorado produced eight blocks within the first 20 minutes, including four by Julius Ashby. Richard Roby, Chris Copeland and Marcus Hall led the Buffaloes with six points apiece.
U-M opened the second half with a field goal by junior Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS), and followed it with a Brown basket, widening the lead to 44-29 with 15:29 remaining in the game. After exchanging several baskets, the Wolverines were able to extend their lead to game-high 19 points with five minutes left in the game.
The Buffaloes went on to mount a furious comeback led by Roby. Roby, who had a team-high 18 points, connected on two three-point baskets in addition to a jump shot from the wing to cut the lead to 65-58 with 56 seconds left. A Sims put-back dunk with 45 seconds remaining put the game away for good for the Wolverines, who hung on to win 69-60.
Michigan will take a break from the Preseason NIT and host Sacramento State on Friday (Nov. 19). Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at Crisler Arena. The Wolverines will return to NIT action Wednesday (Nov. 24) against the Arizona/Wright State winner at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423