OXFORD, Ohio C Paced by a strong 20-point effort from senior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) and a solid U-M defensive presence throughout the game, the University of Michigan men's basketball won its first road game of the season, 62-56, in a hard fought contest against Miami (Ohio) at Millett Hall. With the victory, the Wolverines improved to 9-1 on the season; the RedHawks fell to 3-6.
Strong shooting in the first half helped the Wolverines build their lead to as much as 18 points, which they were able to maintain in the first 20 minutes as they closed the first half leading by 10 points, 35-25. Michigan was able to hold off two second-half comeback attempts, with the Wolverines sealing the game down the stretch with strong rebounding and free throws. The Maize and Blue led the entire game against the RedHawks.
Leading the way for the Wolverines was Harris, who posted his third 20-point game of the season with exactly 20-points after going 6-for-9 shooting from the field, including a 3-for-4 performance from three-point range. He also helped seal the game down the stretch with a 5-for-8 showing from the free throw line. Harris added three assists in 36 minutes of action. Fifth-year senior Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) also tallied a double-figure night as he chipped in 12 points, thanks to a 6-for-9 performance from the free throw line. He added four rebounds, two steals and an assist in 32 minutes of action.
With Michigan's frontcourt in foul trouble, freshman Ekpe Udoh (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe HS) came off the bench to play a career-best 29 minutes. He closed with seven points, six rebounds -- including four key offensive boards -- and a career-high-tying four blocks. Senior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) closed the game with nine points, eight rebounds, two steals and a block.
With three early Miami turnovers followed with a missed shot, the Wolverines quickly went up 6-0 two minutes into the game. After Miami got on the board with an inside bucket from Tim Pollitz, the Wolverines turned on the defensive pressure, going on a 18-6 run over the next 10 minutes to build their lead to 24-9 halfway through the half. The RedHawks did not give up in the first stanza, capitalizing on second chance points to cut into the Wolverine lead, going on a 16-11 run of their own to close the half down 10.
Harris and junior Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) were the offensive catalysts for the Wolverines. The duo posted half of the Wolverine output in the first half. Harris closed the first half with 10 points, while Coleman scored all eight of his points in the first stanza.
Miami jumped out of the gates early in the second half with more second chance points, as the energy of the crowd and Wolverine turnovers helped the RedHawks cut the lead to two, 35-33, as the Maize and Blue did not score a bucket until almost five and a half minutes into the second half. Udoh got Michigan back on the board with an offensive putback and foul, helping the Wolverines snap out of their drought. After the Udoh three-point play, U-M built its lead back up to 11-points after another tip-in from Udoh and a mid-range jumper from Sims.
With under 10 minutes remaining in the second half, the RedHawks could not cut into the Wolverine lead, as the Maize and Blue maintained a five-point spread to end the game. A final late surge from Miami's Michael Bramos, who scored eight straight points for the RedHawks was not enough. Miami was forced to foul the Wolverines down the stretch to stop the clock. The Wolverines took advantage of the opportunities from the charity stripe to close out the game with a 62-56 win.
The Wolverines will waste no time getting back to the hardwood, as the Maize and Blue will have one day to prepare for Delaware State, who U-M hosts Saturday (Dec. 9) at Crisler Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423