ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team improved to 2-0 under head coach Tommy Amaker by defeating the Stags of Fairfield University 88-59 Tuesday (Nov. 20) at Crisler Arena. The Maize and Blue defense forced Fairfield to turn the ball over 21 times, then used this momentum to set up the offensive attack.
Michigan was paced by freshman Dommanic Ingerson's (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara HS) inspired play in the second half, when he scored 18 of his team season-high 23 points, including a red-hot 6-of-8 from outside the three-point arc. Junior guard Gavin Groninger (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield HS) chimed in 15 points and four treys, while LaVell Blanchard (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) connected for 11 points and five rebounds. Senior Chris Young (Plymouth, Mich./Catholic Central HS) led the Wolverines with six rebounds.
Bernard Robinson Jr. (Washington, D.C./New Hampton Prep [N.H.]), who finished with 11 points, received his first start of the season and made his presence felt immediately. Robinson tallied Michigan's first points of the night with a layup at 19:23, which he followed with two successful free throws at 19:00 for a 4-0 lead.
The Stags were kept off the board for just over three minutes to begin the game as they ran up against a tenacious Michigan defense which continually forced the Stags to miss shots and execute difficult passes.
At 16:02, Robinson struck again, jumping high above the Fairfield defense and laying in Ingerson's missed shot to put Michigan up 8-2. Fairfield was then silenced for another two minutes, until they scored the second of two free throws.
Fairfield's Jeremy Logan scored on a fast break at 13:54, as Tyquawn Goode passed him the ball in the open court before the Wolverines were able to get back. Robinson hit a three on the Wolverines' next possession, however, to re-establish his team's six-point advantage. An Avery Queen (Moreno Valley, Calif./Redemption Christian Academy [N.Y.]) defensive rebound on one possession and then a steal on the next cemented Michigan's commitment to playing strong defense.
Sam Spann gave Fairfield a boost with four straight points, but Josh Moore (Newark, N.J./St. Thomas More Prep [Conn.]) would not let Michigan stay silent, placing a shot off the backboard and into the hoop from three feet away for the 20-9 lead at 9:25.
Blanchard then ignited the crowd with an alley-oop pass that forced Robinson to make an athletic lay-in behind the Fairfield defense. The Stags' 10th turnover, at 7:23, prompted a Groninger trey from just right of the arc. Ingerson's runner from the left side at 5:50 gave the Maize and Blue a 29-12 advantage and prolonged a 7-0 run. The Stags emerged from a 3:32 slumber as Deng Gai hit a pair of free throws with under five minutes left, ending the 10-2 Michigan run.
After a timeout, Michigan possessed the ball until it found Robinson open for a fadeaway jumper seven feet from the bucket that put the Wolverines ahead by 17, 37-20. Groninger continued to have a hot hand from three point land, making his fourth three-pointer of five first-half attempts at 2:08. As the first half came to an end the Wolverines had built a 42-26 lead, capitalizing on momentum generated by 13 Fairfield turnovers.
The second frame began by strong offensive ball movement by the Wolverines. Groninger passed the ball crosscourt to an open Mike Gotfredson (Grosse Pointe, Mich./South HS), who darted into the key and sent the ball back outside to Blanchard for a two-pointer from just inside the arc at 19:19. Blanchard then hit a hook shot over two defenders on Michigan's next possession to extend the lead to 19.
Young and Ingerson asserted themselves, as Young scored his first four points of the game with two buckets a minute apart, followed by an Ingerson triple at 15:44 to put the Wolverines ahead 54-30. Ingerson scored the last basket of a 9-2 run with a jump shot from the right of the hoop at 14:12 after rebounding his own miss.
The Stags' first three-pointer of the night came off the hand of Kudjo Sogadzi, making the score 61-37 with 13:13 remaining. Fairfield had missed its previous three long-range attempts.
Moore continued his strong play as Groninger found him one-on-one in the key where the big man hit a quick hook. The Wolverines then denied Fairfield a scoring opportunity on its next possession and Ingerson proceeded to catch fire. Scoring on three straight trips down the floor, Ingerson began by connecting for three from the right flank at 11:00 and then on another one from the left side at 10:19. His final trey at 9:52 put the Wolverines ahead 75-41. A free throw by Young a minute later put the Maize and Blue up by a game-high 35 points.
The game's closing minutes featured good play by Herb Gibson (Taylor, Mich./Truman HS), who added two steals, two assists and a bucket as Michigan wound down its 88-59 victory.
The Wolverines will hit the road for the first time this season when they head to Kalamazoo, Mich., to take on the Western Michigan Broncos on Friday (Nov. 23) at 7:05 p.m.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423