ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team upped its record to 7-0 Saturday (Nov. 25) with a 66-54 victory over University of Maryland-Baltimore County. The Wolverines got off to a slow start, but were able to stay in the game and eventually build a big lead thanks to dominant play inside.
The Wolverines out-rebounded the Retrievers 44-25 and tallied 30 points in the paint compared to UMBC's 14. Michigan also had a season-best 11 blocks, marking the Wolverines' first 10-or-more block performance since last season against Chicago State (Dec. 13, 2005) when they also had 11.
For the Wolverines, senior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) led the team in scoring, posting his second double-double of the season. Sims recorded 18 points and 12 rebounds, also accounting for four of Michigan's 11 blocks. Senior Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) was Michigan's other double-digit scorer, tallying a season-best 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. Like Sims, Petway also added four blocks in addition to five rebounds.
Senior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) continues to put up strong performances of intangibles, dishing out eight assists, which matches a career best for the Wolverine point guard. Harris also recorded seven points, including one triple, to go with four rebounds and one steal.
The Wolverines began the first half with plenty of shot opportunities but had a difficult time getting them to fall. As Michigan struggled from the field -- particularly from behind the arc -- the Retrievers capitalized on open looks, mounting a 10-5 lead with 12:31 remaining in the half.
The Wolverines were able to stay in the game, and eventually claim the lead, thanks to solid post play. The Maize and Blue outrebounded UMBC 24-13 in the half while posting 14 points in the paint, compared to the Retrievers' four. But turnovers hurt the Wolverines, who surrendered nine points off turnovers compared to their zero points off UMBC's six turnovers.
The Maize and Blue found a rhythm as the half wound down, putting together a 9-0 run while holding the Retrievers scoreless for nearly six minutes of play. Down 17-13, sophomore Jerret Smith (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) hit a triple to get the ball rolling before junior Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) knocked down a pair of free throws. Sims capped the scoring drive with back-to-back field goals, giving Michigan a 22-17 lead with nearly five minutes to play in the half.
The Wolverines' five-point cushion didn't last long, however, as the Retrievers narrowed the margin to two. Heading into the locker rooms, Michigan held a slim 26-24 lead over UMBC.
Though the second half began slowly, it was a much different period for the Maize and Blue. After shooting just 9-of-24 in the first half, Michigan posted 53 percent (16-of-30) from the floor in the second stanza, while keeping UMBC at bay with a 40 percent (11-of-27) field goal percentage.
At the outset of the half, the Wolverines were quickly able to extend their lead to five, but a 6-0 UMBC run gave the Retrievers the lead for the first time since 6:33 in the first frame. But Michigan would soon take over for good, stringing together 10 uncontested points to build a nine-point lead (41-32) with 14:19 remaining.
The Wolverines maintained their high-intensity play for the rest of the half, holding onto control by playing strong defense and hitting their shots, keeping the lead to secure the hard-fought, 66-54 win.
After playing seven straight games at Crisler Arena, the Wolverines will make their first road trip, heading to Raleigh, N.C., Monday (Nov. 27) to play N.C. State in the first game of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at the RBC Center. Tipoff is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start, with the game broadcast on ESPN2.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423