ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team won its third straight game by defeating South Florida 71-62, Saturday afternoon (Dec. 12) in front of 10,135 fans at Crisler Arena. With an injury-ridden Wolverine squad, Michigan (6-3) again looked to its bench to lead the team. After a first half in which there were eight lead changes, the Wolverines were able to widen a two-point halftime lead in the second half by out-scoring the Bulls (5-3) by 13 points from the foul line.
Harris' team-high 22 points gave him his second 20-point performance of the season.
The first half was a tightly-fought 20 minutes, complete with eight lead changes and one tie. After trading baskets back and forth to work up to an 18-17 South Florida lead with 12:26 in the first, the Bulls carried the lead for eight straight minutes. The Wolverines kept things close despite strong post play from senior Terrence Leather, who carried 14 of the Bulls' 26 tallies.
After a 7-0 South Florida run, Harris ended the three-minute Wolverine drought with a three point bucket to cut the South Florida lead to two (24-26). U-M went on to score another eight unanswered points, giving Michigan a 32-26 advantage with 2:26 remaining in the first period. The run began with sophomore Courtney Sims' (Roslindale, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) put-back underneath the basket to tie the game, and Harrell gave the Wolverines their first lead of the game since the 12:39 mark, on a driving layup. After a Harris bucket, Harrell provided two free throws to give Michigan their biggest lead of the first half with a 32-26 advantage (2:26).
A lay-up by Coleman and two baskets by South Florida closed out the half, as Michigan retained at 34-32 halftime lead. Harris and Harrell lead the Wolverines with nine and six points respectively, as only three-of-13 Michigan field goals came from outside the lane.
Out of the locker room, both teams exchanged baskets, bringing the score to a 43-point tie with 16:21 left in the game. Harris led the charge for U-M connecting on a jump shot, and a three-pointer while dishing the ball to Hunter for a lay-up. Leather kept the Bulls afloat by scoring five out of South Florida's first 11 points of the second half.
The Wolverines replied with a 9-2 run, with five points coming from Petway, to attain a 52-45 lead with 13:31 left in the second half. The Michigan defense kept the run going, by holding South Florida to two field goals in 4:10 and extending the lead to 55-46 (10:57) on two Hunter free-throws.
The Bulls tried to mount a comeback, led by five Leather points, to cut the lead to four, but South Florida foul trouble helped the Wolverines secure the lead. Two free throws by Hunter and a Coleman jumper put the Wolverines in the driver seat with a 61-53 advantage with 4:49 left in the game. A Harris three-pointer put the game away for good, putting U-M up 66-54 with 2:25 left. The Wolverines ran out the rest of the clock from the free-throw line to cap off the 71-62 victory.
The Wolverines will conclude their four game home stand by hosting Boston University on Tuesday (Dec. 14). Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423