SimsCity: Center Dominates Paint in Win Over Hornets

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team stayed undefeated on the season with a 69-49 victory over Delaware State Wednesday night (Dec. 7) in front of 8,704 fans at Crisler Arena. The Wolverines (6-0) were equally impressive on both ends of the floor, converting on 27-of-45 (.600) from the field while holding the Hornets (2-6) to 14-of-52 (.269) shooting. U-M also held a substantial advantage on the glass, outrebounding its opponent 43-18.

Junior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) put forth a dominating performance to lead U-M to victory, scoring a career-high 33 points on 13-of-17 shooting to go along with 13 rebounds, which gave him his sixth career double-double. Senior Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) also finished in double figures for the Wolverines with 10 points. Senior Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) had six points and dished out a game-high nine assists, while senior Graham Brown (Mio, Mich./Mio-AuSable HS) pulled down a career-best 12 boards.

The rim was unkind to the Hornets in the early going, as a Joe Dickens basket at 18:41 would be Delaware State's only points for nearly eight minutes. Meanwhile, Sims established a presence down low by scoring 11 of Michigan's first 14 points. Sims' offensive onslaught included a pair of one-handed jams and a three-point play on a fast break possession. Abram was responsible for the remainder of U-M's points in the first eight minutes of action, as he drilled his first triple of the game at 17:20. The Wolverines went into the first media timeout at 11:53 with a 14-2 lead.

Freshman Jevohn Shepherd (Toronto, Ontario/West Hills Collegiate HS) came off the bench and kept the momentum in Michigan's favor with a two-handed slam in transition to push the lead to 14 points, but Blunnt gave the Hornets their first hoop since the opening points of the game to trim the U-M lead to 16-5 at 10:48. Two straight U-M turnovers resulted in five straight points from Blunnt, as Delaware State came within six points, 16-10, with 9:54 left until halftime.

Abram's second triple got Michigan back on track, and a cleanup jam by senior Chris Hunter (Gary, Ind./West Side HS) kept the Wolverines in front 21-12 at 7:19. The Hornets continued to find their shooting touch and came within three points of the lead at 25-22 with under two minutes remaining until the break. Michigan was able to push its advantage back to eight points, 32-24, heading into halftime thanks to a fast-break layup by Abram and a buzzer-beating triple from just inside half-court by junior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS).

Sims led the first-half effort with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting, in addition to seven rebounds. The Wolverines shot 12-of-21 (.571) from the field and outrebounded Delaware State 20-8 in the first half.

Horton pushed the U-M advantage back to double digits with his first triple to open the second half of play, and Sims found himself all alone underneath for an easy dunk to put the Wolverines ahead 37-24 with 17:23 left in the game. Michigan was able to keep a double-digit lead over the next five minutes, as Sims scored four straight points inside and Hunter contributed three straight points to make the score 45-32 with 12:27 left on the clock.

Delaware State battled back to within nine points at 48-39 before Michigan's backcourt took charge of the game. Harris knocked down a pair of triples and Horton continued to find easy opportunities for Sims in the post. The Wolverine defense held the Hornets to just two field goals in the final 12 minutes to preserve the 20-point victory.

The Wolverines will look for their seventh straight win when they travel to Tampa, Fla., to take on South Florida this Saturday (Dec. 10). Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Sun Dome, and the game will be televised by ESPN2.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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