NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team suffered its first loss of the season tonight (Saturday, Dec. 6), falling 83-63 to Vanderbilt at Memorial Gym. The Commodores used an 11-0 run early in the contest to take the lead and never looked back.
Michigan (4-1) was led by senior wing Bernard Robinson Jr. (Washington D.C./New Hampton Prep), who scored a team-high 14 points, and junior forward J.C. Mathis (Brooklyn, N.Y./John F. Kennedy HS) chipped in with 13 points. Vanderbilt's Matt Freije led all scorers with 22 points.
Michigan won the opening tip and got off to a quick start with a jump shot from Robinson on its first possession. On the ensuing possession, Courtney Sims (Rosindale, Mass/Noble & Greenough School) stole a pass and took the ball down for a two-handed dunk that put Michigan up 4-0. Vanderbilt came charging back with an 11-0 run over the next two minutes, highlighted by a pair of three-pointers by Mario Moore and Corey Smith. U-M finally broke the run with a fast-break dunk from Sims, bringing the Wolverines to within five with 15:53 to go in the half.
Neither team was able to gain control of the game over the next few minutes, until Vanderbilt went on an 8-2 run heading into the 12-minute media timeout. Scott Hundley sparked the Commodores with a pair of jump shots, including a three-point play. With 11:25 remaining in the first half, Vanderbilt led the Maize and Blue 23-13.
The Wolverines continued to struggle in the half-court, allowing Vanderbilt to continue to increase their lead. Freije scored five straight points for the Commodores, who took a 31-18 lead at the 7:39 mark.
After the teams traded free throws, Robinson got the Wolverines going with a three-point play at the 6:15 mark, driving down the right side and sliding past the Vanderbilt defense for the score. The play started an 11-2 Michigan run that brought the Wolverines within three, 34-31, with 2:58 to play. The run was highlighted by Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS), who hit a jump shot, picked the Vanderbilt point guard's pocket and hit Robinson for a dunk, and dished a pass to Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) for a layin.
The Commodores answered the Michigan run with a mini-run of their own. A pair of free throws and a dunk by Freije closed out the half, giving Vanderbilt a 40-33 halftime lead.
Michigan cut the lead to five to start the second half, but five straight points by Freije increased Vanderbilt's lead to 10. After Sims cut the Commodores' lead to 45-38 with a free throw and a steal and dunk, Vanderbilt scored four more points to take a 49-38 lead with 15:45 left in the game.
Michigan was unable to make up any ground as the teams traded baskets over the next few minutes. Already holding a 54-46 lead, Vanderbilt went on another run. This time the Commodores rattled off a 16-3 streak to take a 70-49 advantage at the 8:10 mark.
After a 5-0 run by the Wolverines that cut the lead to 70-54, Vanderbilt scored 10 of the next 14 points to take an 80-58 lead with 2:54 to play in the game. Michigan outscored the Commodores 5-3 in the final three minutes to make the final score 83-63.
The Wolverines will return home to take on Bowling Green on Saturday, Dec. 13. That game is slated to start at 2 p.m.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423