BOSTON, Mass. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team moved to 2-0 on the season with a hard-fought 51-46 road victory over Boston University Tuesday (Nov. 22) at Agganis Arena. In a game Michigan could have easily let slip away, the Wolverines showed their determination and stepped up, making key baskets down the stretch to end a two-game losing streak with the Terriers.
Senior Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) was a catalyst in the victory, scoring 16 of Michigan's 25 points in the second half. He led the Wolverines with 21 points (6-of-10) including four key free throws in the final minute of play to help seal the win. He also finished the game with four steals. Senior Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) also finished the game in double digits, scoring 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, while junior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) was a leader for the Wolverines on the glass, coming down with eight rebounds to go along with five points, one steal, one assist and one block.
Michigan's freshman class continued to contribute in a big way as freshman Jevohn Shepherd (Toronto, Ontario, Canada/West Hill Collegiate) showed his defensive talent down the line for the Wolverines, finishing the game with five rebounds, one steal and a key block late in the second half to go along with five points and one assist.
The Wolverines jumped ahead early to begin the first half, establishing a 12-4 lead with the help of four points from Sims and a pair of three-point baskets from Horton and Abram. But with the score at 14-6 in favor of the Wolverines, both teams went into a scoring drought. Neither squad put up any points for more than two minutes until Boston finally got things going again with a two-point shot at 11:50 in the half.
Michigan kept a solid lead as the half went on, hitting baskets at key moments to maintain their advantage over the Terriers. But foul trouble on all three of the Wolverines' top post players -- senior Graham Brown (Mio, Mich./Mio-AuSable HS), senior Chris Hunter (Gary, Ind./West Side HS) and Sims C left Michigan few options down low and helped Boston piece together a late-half scoring drive.
With just over six minutes remaining in the half, the Terriers went on a 9-2 run to put them within just one point of the Wolverines (23-22). But Shepherd gave the Maize and Blue a boost heading into the locker room, converting a three-point play with just under a minute to go to give Michigan a 26-22 lead at halftime.
Both teams got off to a slow start to begin the second half, combining for only four points through the first six minutes of play. Michigan was unable to convert anything from the floor with all four points coming on free throws.
But the Wolverines found a spark in Horton as he drained his second triple of the game to give Michigan a 33-26 lead with just over 13:00 remaining. The Terriers weren't giving up without a fight, however, responding with a three-point shot of their own before Hunter hit a third-consecutive three-point basket at the 10-minute mark to maintain Michigan's seven-point lead (36-29).
Over the next four-minute span, neither team was able to get much going. Boston came away with one basket, while the Wolverines were able to get shots off, but had trouble hitting their free throws. With a fragile four-point lead, Horton established a presence, going on a seven-point tear while Michigan held Boston to just two free throws.
Horton was a solid force for the Wolverines, driving the basket for his first of three consecutive shots from the floor. After the Terriers hit their two free throws in the drive, Horton hit back-to-back shots for the Wolverines to extend their lead to nine with just under four minutes to play.
That lead was short-lived, however, as the Terriers found new life with just over three minutes to play in the contest. Boston outscored Michigan 8-2 with the help of two triples to put them within three points (46-43) of the lead at the two-minute mark.
With just over a half-minute to play and possession with Michigan, the Terriers were forced to foul. The Wolverines inbounded the ball the to Horton who was immediately fouled. He continued his clutch play at the line, draining both free throws to put Michigan ahead by five (48-43).
Boston managed a fast three-point shot, but was again forced to foul with just over 11 seconds remaining in the game. Horton again took the foul and hit both free throws to give Michigan a four-point advantage (50-46) and ultimately seal the 51-46 victory.
Michigan will return home this Saturday (Nov. 26) to take on Butler for their first of two games in Ann Arbor over the next week. The contest against the Bulldogs is scheduled for a 2 p.m. tipoff at Crisler Arena.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423