TAMPA, Fla. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team continued its winning ways and stayed a perfect 7-0 after a dominating 68-47 victory today (Saturday, Dec. 10) over the University of South Florida at the Sun Dome. The Wolverines, who earned their third straight road victory of the season, used their intense defensive pressure in the first half holding the Bulls (4-3) to an eight and a half minute scoring drought and 12 turnovers to build a 20-point lead which was never relinquished as the Maize and Blue controlled play throughout the second half rolling onto the win.
Senior Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) led a trio of Wolverine scorer's as he had a team-high 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting, while collecting two rebounds, a block and a steal in 28 minutes of action. Fellow-senior Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) went 6-for-12 from the field en route to a 16-point performance. He added five assists and a career-high-tying five steals.
Rounding out the double-digit scorer's was junior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School), who finished with 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting. He also had seven rebounds, all offensive and a block. In addition to the scoring, senior Graham Brown (Mio, Mich./Mio-AuSable HS) recorded his fourth straight game with 10-or-more rebounds as he led the Wolverines with 10 rebounds, along with is two points and two assists.
As the game began, the Wolverines and Bulls exchanged baskets through the first six minutes as the game started to find its rhythm. After five points from Sims on the inside and four from Abram from the free throw line, the Wolverines and Bulls found themselves tied at 10-10. With the game tied, the Wolverines began to turn up the defensive pressure as Horton sparked the U-M intensity with four straight steals leading to eight points as the Maize and Blue went on a 19-0 run over the next eight and a half minutes putting the score a 31-12 with just under five minutes to go.
The U-M first half lead would rise to 20-points, 39-19, after Abram added two buckets and three more free throws giving him 11 first half points. Rebounding was also the key in the first half as the Wolverines grabbed 29 to South Florida's 13 with U-M's Brown and sophomore Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) each bringing in six at the break.
The second half picked up right where Michigan left off as the defensive pressure balanced with offensive execution was too much as U-M went on a 14-3 round in the first five minutes to build a 31-point lead, 53-22. South Florida found a little breathing room in the U-M defense as the Bulls went on a 9-5 run over the next four minutes to slice into the Wolverine lead. However, that lead was just too much for the Bulls to overcome, as the U-M pressure was turned back up. Despite some sloppy possessions, U-M closed out the game holding South Florida to just 47 points as the Wolverines won their second straight game by 20-or-more points.
The Wolverines will be off for finals and will not return to the hardwood until Saturday (Dec. 17) for a match-up against currently ranked UCLA (No. 14 AP, No. 14 ESPN/USA Today) at Crisler Arena. The battle between the two historic programs will have a noon tipoff and be aired nationally on ESPN.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423