ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan basketball team returned to Crisler Arena Saturday (Dec. 1) against No. 15 Boston College but could not break its losing skid, falling 83-74. With their third straight loss the Wolverines (2-3) dropped below .500 for the first time this season, while Boston College improved to 5-0 on the season.
Despite LaVell Blanchard's (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) 20th career double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds) and a 16-point performances by Chris Young (Plymouth, Mich./Catholic Central HS) and Dommanic Ingerson (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara HS), the Maize and Blue could not find an answer to the BC duo of Troy Bell and Ryan Sidney, whose 28 and 29 points, respectively, accounted for nearly 70 percent of the Eagles' offensive output.
The Wolverines prepared for the tip with a new-look lineup that placed big men Young and Rotolu Adebiyi (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron HS) beneath the post with wings Gavin Groninger (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield HS) and Mike Gotfredson (Grosse Pointe, Mich./South HS) on the outside, with Avery Queen (Moreno Valley, Calif./Redemption Christian Academy [N.Y.]) running the point.
Michigan dropped to defend after Boston College won first possession, and after unsuccessful attempts for both teams, the Eagles struck first with Uka Agbai's jumper from just inside the arc at 18:24. Ingerson scored his team's first points with a three at 16:59 to make the score 4-3 after Bell finished a breakaway with a layup. Bell struck again as he worked into open space underneath the basket, but Young answered immediately with a hard drive to the basket on a wrap-around pass by Ingerson. By hitting the free throw at 16:01, Young tied the game at six.
Groninger pulled up for three after the media timeout to put the Wolverines ahead, 9-8. Blanchard capitalized on Young's defensive rebound by tapping in a missed shot for the three point advantage, 11-8. However, BC made two quick buckets -- a three by Kenny Walls and a two from Bell -- to regain the lead and force a Michigan timeout.
Chuck Bailey (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King HS) entered the game with a three-point play to put Michigan ahead 14-13 at 13:21. Back-to-back dunks by Young at 11:33 and 10:53 book-ended a Bell basket and established a three-point lead for the Wolverines. Four straight points by Sidney retook the lead for BC, 20-19.
Queen's rebound in the low post set up Bernard Robinson Jr. (Washington, D.C./New Hampton Prep [N.H.]) for the layup at 8:37 but BC grabbed the lead right back with a quick bucket. But Sidney's three-pointer at 7:52 began an Eagle run that extended the largest lead of the half to 29-23 before Queen's jumper at 6:09 ended the run.
The teams traded buckets and turnovers until 3:23 when Queen's trey from the left baseline put Michigan within three. Blanchard's jumper inside of three minutes brought his team within one. Bell put BC back up by three as he put away Kenny Walls' miss. Blanchard's triple from the corner tied the game 35-35 at 1:41.
After a 4-0 Eagle run to regain the lead, a three-point play by Young made the game a one point affair with 30 seconds left. However, Sidney's three-pointer at the end of the half put Boston College back up by four (42-38) as the teams left the court.
On the first possession of the second half, Young's third dunk of the game drew a foul and the free throw made the score 42-41 BC. With the next basket, Blanchard tied the game at 43 with a tip-in at 18:50 after the Wolverines had worked the ball inside to Young.
Queen brought the crowd to its feet following Blanchard's hard-fought rebound, when the sophomore guard extended Michigan's 8-1 run to begin the half with a three that made the score 46-43 Wolverines. Bell got the Eagles going again with an acrobatic layup at 15:57 and Agbai's bucket at 15:41 tied the game at 47. Ingerson broke the tie a minute later with a free throw and then followed up a miss with a three to extend the score to 51-47, as Young dished the ball back outside. At 13:04, Boston College tied the game for the third time of the half and Bell's free throws at 12:32 gave BC a 53-51 lead.
Following two minutes of sloppy play, in which Bell managed two freebies to extend the lead, Andrew Bryant connected from outside the arc to extend BC's lead to a seven points at 58-51. The Wolverines ended their prolonged period of silence with a Blanchard rebound and lay-in against three Eagles at 8:44. However, Sidney's inside dish to Bryant gave BC a 62-53 lead.
Blanchard's three at 6:34 made it a six-point game. An Ingerson trey at 5:29 negated three straight Eagle points, making the score 68-62. Sidney's three moments later would not allow the Wolverines to make up ground against the deficit. Boston College went ahead by 11 with Bell's 10th field goal of the game at 4:43. With seven straight points on free throws, highlighted by Ingerson's three after being fouled behind the arc, the Wolverines cut the BC lead to five, 74-69. Young responded by adding another at 2:37.
With Robinson's hoop from nearly behind the bucket and free throw at 2:01, which was precipitated by Young's strong rebound and Queen's dish, the BC lead was cut to two, 75-73. Bell and Sidney reasserted the Eagles with a series of buckets, putting the game out of reach 83-74 as the final buzzer sounded.
The Wolverines remain at Crisler Arena to host IUPU-Fort Wayne Tuesday, Dec. 4, with tipoff set for 7 p.m.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423