Score: Michigan 81, #4 Duke 73
Records: U-M (6-2), Duke (8-1)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Dec. 13 -- vs. Eastern Michigan (Crisler Arena), 4 p.m.
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team handed Duke (No. 4 AP/No. 4 ESPN/USA Today) its first loss of the 2008-09 season as the Wolverines claimed the upset victory, 81-73, on Saturday (Dec. 6) at Crisler Arena. The victory marks Michigan's second win over a top-five opponent this year and the team's first triumph over Duke since U-M defeated the Blue Devils by the same score at Crisler Arena in 1997.
Junior forward DeShawn Sims(Detroit, Mich./Detroit Pershing HS) posted a career-high 28 points and tied a personal best with 12 rebounds, earning his fourth career double-double and third of the year. Freshman guard Zack Novak(Chesterton, Ind./ Chesterton HS) also finished with a career-best 14 points on four three-pointers and two free throws.
The Wolverines converted 15-of-27 (55.6 percent) attempts from the floor and shot 50 percent from downtown in the second half to eclipse the 80-point plateau for the second time this season. Michigan's defense also presented a strong front in the second stanza, forcing eight turnovers and recording five steals.
Midway through the second half, the competition remained a one-basket game with the Wolverines possessing a 50-48 advantage at 9:28. Sims' first-half success carried over into the second stanza as the forward earned nine points in the opening 10 minutes.
After five Blue Devil points set the score at 53-50, Novak drained back-to-back three-pointers to restore a Michigan lead, 56-53, one U-M never relinquished for the final seven minutes of action. Novak sank four-of-seven three-point attempts in the contest, accounting for more than half of Michigan's seven long-range field goals.
U-M extended its lead to nine, 68-59, with three minutes left on the clock, aided by five points from Sims and four from sophomore guard Manny Harris(Detroit, Mich./Redford HS). Harris closed the game with 17 points, five rebounds and two assists.
In the closing minutes, the Blue Devils finally started to hit from behind the line, scoring on four straight outside shots to cut the deficit to four points, 75-71, but the Wolverines hit 11-of-12 free throws down the stretch to seal the upset. Sophomore guard Kelvin Grady(Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids HS) netted 5-of-6 attempts at the charity stripe during the span to finish the contest with nine points and four assists.
Michigan owned a 32-30 advantage at the break after only allowing Duke to convert 2-of-18 attempts from behind the arc. Sims posted game highs with 11 points and six rebounds at the half, while Harris totaled nine points, two rebounds and one assist going into the intermission.
The contest proved to be a dead heat from the tipoff as the Wolverines obtained an early 11-9 lead after the teams continuously exchanged baskets during the contest's opening five minutes. The Blue Devils reeled off eight consecutive points to establish the largest lead of the stanza, 17-11, but U-M responded with seven unanswered points to push ahead, 18-17.
With the score standing 28-27 in Duke's favor with two minutes remaining in the first half, Sims collected a highly-contested rebound and tipped it forward to Harris, who skipped a cross-court pass to Novak. The 6-5, 210-pounder knocked down the open look to record his second triple of the half, granting the Maize and Blue the 30-27 advantage. Novak closed the first stanza with six points and two rebounds.
The Wolverines continue action next Saturday (Dec. 13) against Eastern Michigan at Crisler Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m., and the game will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423