NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team suffered its second straight defeat Friday evening (Nov. 26), falling 72-63 to Providence in the third-place game of the Preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden. The Wolverines (3-2) earned a 10-point lead in early in the first half, but the Friars (4-1) battled back to even the score at 30-30 heading into halftime. Providence kept rolling in the second half thanks to a 14-0 scoring run to put the game out of reach for Michigan.
Sophomore Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) led the Wolverines with 17 points, while junior Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) poured in 12 points. Sophomore Courtney Sims (Roslindale, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Dwight Brewington paced the Friars with a career-high 23 points.
The Wolverines stormed out to a 10-point lead in the first six minutes of the contest, scoring a majority of their early points in the post and from the free throw line. Harris scored six points during the opening run, while junior Graham Brown (Mio, Mich./Mio-AuSable HS)scored on a jump hook and one free throw. Sims also got into the scoring mix with an offensive board and a bucket, and junior Chris Hunter (Gary, Ind./West Side HS) capped off the surge with a pair from the line to make the score 13-3 with 13:41 left in the first half.
Providence went ice-cold from the field in the early stages of the game, connecting on just one of its first 10 shots. However, the Friars got things going with an alley-oop basket by Gerald Brown at 13:04, which was their first field goal in nearly five minutes. Brown's hoop started a 10-0 scoring run, as Providence was able to capitalize on four straight U-M turnovers and knot the score at 13-13 with 11:09 remaining until halftime.
Sims broke a four-minute scoring drought with a easy basket in the paint, while Horton kept the Wolverines in the lead, 18-15, with his first triple of the game at 8:17. Michigan was able to sustain a three-point lead over the next few minutes, as freshman Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) hit his first jumper and Sims collected three more points. With Providence trailing 25-22, Brewington tied the score with a triple at 5:34.
The Friars took their first lead of the game, 27-25, with 3:51 left in the first frame, as DeSean White put home a short jumper. The Wolverines ended the half on a strong note, with Horton connecting on another three-pointer and Hunter scoring on a layup to tie things up at 30-30 going into the intermission.
Brewington broke the tie with a layup in the opening minute of the second half, but Harris accounted for eight of Michigan's next 10 points to vault the Wolverines to a 40-38 lead with 14:48 to go in the game. U-M kept a two-point lead over the next two minutes thanks to a pair of layups from Brown and sophomore Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS). A jumper by Harris at 12:05 gave Michigan a four-point advantage, 46-42.
Providence responded with a 14-0 scoring run over the next three minutes to regain a 56-46 lead with 8:53 left on the clock. Horton stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer for U-M's first basket in almost four minutes, and Petway followed with a one-handed slam to cut the lead to 56-51 with 7:52 remaining.
The Wolverines had trouble generating any offense over the next four minutes, while Providence scored seven unanswered points to move to a comfortable 63-51 lead with 4:06 to go. Sophomore John Andrews (West Bloomfield, Mich./Orchard Lake St. Mary's) broke the drought with a free throw at 3:51, but Brewington continued to find his rhythm with seven straight points to keep the Friars in front 70-57 with 49 seconds left.
Back-to-back buckets from Harris and Andrews cut the lead to nine with 32 seconds left on the clock, but time eventually ran out and the Friars sealed the victory from the free throw line.
Michigan will look to get back on track when they travel to Atlanta, Ga., to take on Georgia Tech on Tuesday (Nov. 30). The game is part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423