ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team recorded its second straight victory Tuesday night (Dec. 7), defeating High Point 67-53 in front of 9,149 fans at Crisler Arena. U-M turned a five-point halftime lead into doubles figures early in the second half, as the Wolverines finished the final 20 minutes shooting 62 percent from the field (13-of-21). Junior Chris Hunter (Gary, Ind./West Side HS) had a career performance against the Panthers, finishing the contest with a career-best 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting and a team-high six rebounds.
Chris Hunter scored 15 of his career-high 22 points before the halftime break.
Hunter got off to a torrid pace on the offensive end, scoring Michigan's first seven points of the contest. After knocking down a short turnaround jumper in the opening minute, Hunter recorded his first triple of the season to put the Wolverines on top 5-0 at 18:37. High Point was able to tie the game thanks to five unanswered points from Byrd, but Hunter continued to attack the rim with another quick hoop inside to push U-M back into the lead, 7-5, with 17:23 left in the first half.
That basket was the start of an 8-0 for the Wolverines, as sophomore Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) put home a pair of free throws and Hunter found himself with an easy layup down low. Fifth-year senior J.C. Mathis (Brooklyn, N.Y./John F. Kennedy HS) then collected his first points of the season in transition to give U-M a 13-5 lead with 14:06 remaining until halftime. The Panthers were able to stay within two points of the lead after back-to-back triples, but Andrews answered with a three-pointer of his own to put the Wolverines back up by five points, 16-11.
Hunter continued his impressive first-half play with another two points in the paint before drilling a long jumper from the wing, allowing Michigan to sustain a 20-16 advantage at 7:13. U-M's backcourt then got into the scoring mix, with Wohl recording his first points of the year on a pair of free throws, and sophomore Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) scoring four straight to cap off a 6-0 run and increase the lead to 26-16 with 5:17 to go in the half.
The Wolverines kept a double-digit advantage over the two minutes, as Hunter collected another two points from the baseline before freshman Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) knocked down a jumper from the top of the key to put U-M ahead 30-19.High Point cut the lead down to five points with a pair of three-pointers in the final three minutes of half, but Harris gave Michigan a spark with a fast-break dunk at 1:08. A tip-in hoop by Danny Gathings with 34 seconds on the clock cut the Wolverine lead to 32-27 heading into the break.
Hunter finished the first half with 15 points on seven-of-10 shooting, while Harris scored six points and handed out three assists. Byrd paced the Panthers with 14 first-half points, including 4-of-5 shooting from behind the arc.
Michigan's backcourt provided the momentum early in the second half, with Andrews converting on a layup in the opening minute and Coleman nailing his first triple of the game to keep the Wolverines in front, 37-29 with 17:04 left in the game. Hunter continued to find his touch with another basket, while Andrews nailed his second triple of the game to extend the lead to 11 points.
U-M was able to keep the lead at 11 points after Hunter put home two free throws and Sims tallied his first points of the game on a two-handed slam. High Point responded with a 7-2 scoring run over the next two minutes to trim the lead to six points, 48-42, with 11:06 to go in the game. The backcourt tandem of Harris and Andrews combined for Michigan's next four points to keep the lead at seven points with under 10 minutes to play.
The Wolverines stepped up their post play in the latter stages of the second half, with Hunter slamming home two points before Petway tipped in a miss to put Michigan back up by 11 points. A short jumper by Sims extended the lead to 59-46 with 4:41 left on the clock.
High Point eventually cut the lead down to 10 points, 61-51, behind a three-pointer from Byrd. That would be as close as the Panthers would get, as Sims scored the Wolverines' final eight points to preserve the 14-point victory and keep U-M perfect at home (5-0) this season.
Michigan (5-3) continues its four-game homestand this Saturday (Dec. 11) against South Florida. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:04 p.m. at Crisler Arena, and the game will be televised by Comcast Local.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423