Michigan Unable to Knock Off Top-Ranked Kansas

Dec. 19, 2009

• Audio Quotes: Coach John Beilein Presser
Box Score |  Notes

Site: Lawrence, Kan. (Allen Fieldhouse)
Score: #1 Kansas 75, Michigan 64
Records: U-M (5-5), Kansas (10-0)
Next U-M Event: Tuesday, Dec. 22 -- vs. Coppin State (Crisler Arena), 7 p.m.

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Playing a ranked opponent for the first time this season, the University of Michigan men's basketball team fell behind early to top-ranked Kansas (No. 1 AP, No. 1 ESPN/USA Today) and could never recover, losing 75-64 on Saturday (Dec. 19) at Allen Fieldhouse.

The "Motor City Duo" once again led the way for the Wolverines, as senior forward DeShawn Sims (Detroit, Mich./Pershing) had 19 points and seven rebounds and junior guard Manny Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford) scored 16.

Michigan's season-long shooting woes continued in the first half, converting as low as 23 percent before making its run. The Wolverines finished the game shooting 35 percent but continued to struggle behind the three-point line, going 5-for-28 (18 percent). They were also 11-for-13 (84 percent) from the free throw line.

Michigan's last lead of the game came at the 13:28 mark of the first half (11-10) thanks to a short-corner jumper by Harris, but Kansas went on a 31-9 run to take its biggest lead (21) with 3:41 to play before halftime. Despite spending much of the first half struggling to get open looks, the Wolverines trimmed the lead to just 11 at the break, thanks to an 11-1 run of their own.

After a free throw from Sims, the run was fueled by back-to-back buckets on two occasions: four points in the paint from Sims and five points from freshman guard Darius Morris (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward), courtesy of a fast break layup and a corner three-pointer. Morris came off the bench for the first time this season, scoring nine points and dishing out four assists, his second-best totals of the season.

Prior to the run, Michigan switched to its traditional 1-3-1 zone defense for the first time in the game and forced 14 turnovers throughout the game. Sims gave up almost four inches on Kansas center Cole Aldrich, a preseason All-America candidate, but held him to just five points in 27 minutes of action.

Coming out of the gates in the second half, the Wolverines cut the lead to 11 points on 10 different occasions but could never get to within single digits. Both teams spent much of the second half trading baskets, as Kansas' lead was somewhere between 11 and 14 points for every minute of the second half.

Sophomore guard Stu Douglass (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) got the start for the first time this season, contributing eight points, four rebounds and two assists while handling the point guard duties. Fellow sophomore guard Zack Novak (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) filled up the boxscore, finishing with eight points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.

The Wolverines edged the nation's top team in a few statistical categories. Michigan had four fewer turnovers -- and subsequently four more steals -- than Kansas and led in points off turnovers (16) and second-chance points (11). Both teams had the same amount of fast-break points (11).

Marcus Morris led Kansas with 23 points, as the Jayhawks pushed their record to 10-0.

The Wolverines return to Crisler Arena on Tuesday (Dec. 22) when they face Coppin State at 7 p.m. It is Michigan's final game before starting the Big Ten Conference schedule. The game will be televised on BigTenNetwork.com.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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