INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team remained undefeated on the season with a dramatic 61-60 overtime win over Butler Sunday night (Nov. 30) at Conseco Fieldhouse. Sophomore Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS), who led the Wolverines with 16 points, drew a crucial blocking foul in the final 10 seconds before hitting two free throws to send U-M to victory. Butler (2-1) came back from a nine-point halftime deficit behind 23 points from senior Mike Monserez. Senior Bernard Robinson Jr. (Washington, D.C./New Hampton Prep, N.H.) and sophomore Chris Hunter (Gary, Ind./West Side HS) contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively for U-M.
Horton scored 10 of U-M's last 14 points in the victory.
Sophomore Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS)
opened the scoring with a wide-open layup off a steal in the opening minute. Hunter then made the score 4-0 with two free throws on Michigan's next possession. The Wolverine defense applied immediate pressure on Butler, allowing just two field goals in the first five minutes. The Bulldogs got on the board with a triple from Bruce Horan with 17:46 left in the half. After both teams exchanged buckets, Hunter threw home a two-handed dunk on a Horton miss to put U-M up 8-5 heading into the first timeout.
Robinson got onto the scoresheet after the timeout, splitting a pair of free throws to increase Michigan's lead to four points. Robinson then stole the ball on Butler's ensuing possession and passed to sophomore Graham Brown (Mio, Mich./Mio-AuSable HS), who made a nice dish to freshman Courtney Sims (Roslindale, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) for the dunk. The Bulldogs answered with a basket from Duane Lightfoot, but Horton nailed his first triple to keep U-M in front 14-7.
Both squads exchanged triples in the next minute, as Horan hit his second trey before freshman Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) responded with a three from the right to keep the lead at seven points. Robinson pushed the score to 19-10 after a timeout, converting on a soft turnaround from the left side. Robinson continued his hot shooting on the next possession, hitting a long two to put Michigan ahead by 10 points with 9:14 left until the break.
Monserez kept Butler within reach with his first triple and Horan followed with two free throws to cut the deficit to 24-18 with under six minutes left until halftime. A Michigan technical foul resulted in two more Bulldog free throws, but Harris kept the Wolverines up by six with an open layin on the other end.
Butler only scored three more points in the half, as Monserez connected on his second three-pointer. Abram hit a triple of his own and Hunter scored down low after being fouled to give U-M a 31-23 edge. Hunter's free throw gave the Wolverines a nine-point advantage heading into the break.
Butler climbed back within two points with 18 minutes to play, as Michigan could only manage one field goal in the first two minutes of the second half. The Bulldogs went go on a 6-1 scoring run over the next few minutes to cut the U-M lead to 35-34.
A Brown hook from inside put Michigan back up by three points, but Jamie Smalligan answered with a short jumper. The Wolverines came up short on their next three offensive possessions, but two baskets from Harris and freshman Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) allowed U-M to sustain a 41-36 lead with 11 minutes left in the game.
Monserez gave Butler the momentum with two consecutive buckets from behind the arc, and Lightfoot's layup knotted the score at 44-44 with six minutes to play. Michigan went cold from the field and missed four crucial free throws, which allowed the Bulldogs to claim their first lead, 46-45, with four minutes remaining.
Monserez buried two free throws after a foul on Hunter to give Butler a three-point advantage. Fortunately, the Wolverines went on a 5-0 run behind a jumper from Robinson and a triple from Horton to regain a 50-48 lead. Another three from Monserez and a free throw from Lightfoot gave the Bulldogs a 52-50 edge with under a minute to play. With 35 seconds on the clock, Horton stepped up and coolly sank two free throws to tie the game at 52. Lightfoot's last-second attempt from behind the arc was off the mark and the two teams prepared for the overtime period.
Hunter put the Wolverines on top 54-52 with two huge free throws in the opening minute of overtime. After a layup from Butler's Brandon Crone, Horton nailed a deep triple to put U-M ahead by three with two minutes left. Butler then scored four straight points, including another triple from Horan, to regain a 58-57 lead with under a minute to go. Two free throws from Abram and another basket from Crone made it 60-59 Butler and set the stage for Horton's pair of game-winning free throws.
The Wolverines (3-0) return to Crisler Arena on Tuesday (Dec. 2) to face North Carolina State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The game is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN2.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423