ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team defeated the Northern Illinois Huskies 67-52 Saturday afternoon (Dec. 16) at Crisler Arena. Opportunistic all afternoon long, the Wolverines (11-1) scored 18 points off of 23 Husky turnovers. U-M also netted 13 points from offensive rebounds, as Michigan dominated the glass outrebounding NIU 19-to-8 on the offensive end.
Senior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough HS) led all scorers with 21 points on 9-for-17 shooting, including 3-for-5 from the foul line. He also pulled down 13 rebounds, while recording three blocks, a pair of assists and a steal. It was Sims' third double-double of the season.
Senior Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) notched a season best 14 points on 5-for-11 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 showing from the foul line. He also recorded three rebounds, a block and a steal. Senior Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) registered eight points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field and 2-for-3 shooting from the charity stripe. He also had an assist and a block.
The Wolverines gained great production from their bench, including six points apiece by sophomore Jevohn Shepherd (Toronto, Ont./West Hills Collegiate HS) and freshman Reed Baker (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot HS). Shepherd's points came on 3-for-5 shooting in addition to producing three rebounds, two steals, an assist and a block. Baker was 2-for-3 from beyond the arc and dished out a pair of assists.
Trailing 4-0 one minute into the ball game, the Wolverines turned the tide to take an 8-4 lead at 14:28. The four-minute spurt was predominately fueled by the Michigan bench, which accounted for three of the Wolverines' first four buckets. Pull-up jumpers by Shepherd and freshman Ekpe Udoh (Edmond, Okla./ Santa Fe HS) gave U-M its first lead of the game, and freshman DeShawn Sims (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Pershing HS) capped off the 8-0 run with a midrange basket.
Abram made his presence felt midway through the first half with a pair of buckets, including a driving lay-up, to stretch the lead to 17-11 at 10:59. Plagued by foul trouble, he finished the first half with four points, a rebound and a block in 10 minutes of action.
Following a more than five minute scoring drought, the Wolverines turned their attention to the low-post with a pair of buckets each for Petway and C. Sims. Ball movement keyed the scores, as senior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) fed both Sims and Petway for slams. Petway's alley-oop dunk from Harris at 2:01 gave U-M a 29-20 lead. Two free throws by Harris followed, stretching the Michigan lead to 31-20, its largest advantage of the half.
U-M took a 33-23 lead into halftime; nine Wolverines ended up in the scoring column. The Maize and Blue dominated the glass in the first half, outrebounding the Huskies 23-to-11, including 13-to-4 on the offensive end, in the first 20-minutes of play. Michigan netted nine points off of offensive rebounds. Aggressive off the ball, the Wolverines also collected seven blocks and four steals in the first stanza.
The second half began in the same fashion as the first, with the Huskies jumping out with four quick points. Abram showed the resolve and grit of a senior leader, scoring Michigan's next six points to give U-M the 39-27 lead at 15:49. Abram's play jumpstarted the Michigan 14-2 run that ballooned the U-M advantage to 47-29 with 12:36 remaining in the game.
It become a see-saw affair midway through the second half as both teams traded baskets for over five-minutes, with C. Sims netting three buckets to give Michigan a 59-43 lead at 4:19.
The Wolverines finished the game with a Petway three-point play and a Baker triple to seal the 67-52 Michigan win.
The Wolverines will play their final road game of the non-conference season when they head to Los Angeles, Calif., Saturday (Dec. 23) to face No. 1 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. The game against the Bruins will air on CBS and is set for an 11 a.m. PST tipoff (2 p.m. EST).
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423