Blanchard Leads Wolverines Past Eastern Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team recorded its fourth victory of the season Saturday (Dec. 22) as the Wolverines defeated Eastern Michigan University 88-58 at Crisler Arena. The Wolverines (4-4), led by junior LaVell Blanchard's (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) 20 points and freshman Dommanic Ingerson's (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara HS) 19, shot a season best 58.3 percent from the field (35-60). The Eagles received a team-high 16 points from Ryan Prillman on 7-of-12 shooting.

Eastern Michigan (3-7) started the game with a quick 9-0 run over the first 2:36, with Ricky Cottrill opening the scoring on a turnaround jumper in the lane. The Eagles then received a three-pointer from Steve Pettyjohn and consecutive baskets by Brian Prillman to make it 9-0. The Wolverines got on the board at 16:25 as senior point guard Mike Gotfredson (Grosse Pointe, Mich./South HS) hit the third three-pointer of his career, cutting Eastern's lead to 9-3.

Ingerson connected on the Wolverines' second three-point bucket of the afternoon to cut the Eagle led to three points. Following another Ingerson field goal, sophomore Bernard Robinson Jr. (Washington, D.C./New Hampton Prep [N.H.]) hit a baseline jumper, bringing Michigan within two points at 14-12. Following a Steve Pettyjohn miss Ingerson gave Michigan its first lead of the game at 15-14 with a three-pointer from the right side. Blanchard made it a 17-5 run with a long two-point basket, extending the Wolverines' lead to 17-14.

The Wolverines pushed their lead to 21-16 on a alley-oop layup from senior Leon Jones (Battle Creek, Mich./Winchendon Prep [Mass.]) to Blanchard. Blanchard used a backdoor screen from senior Chris Young (Plymouth, Mich./Catholic Central HS) to get open under the basket. On Michigan's ensuing possession Gotfredson sank his second three-pointer of the game. The basket gave him a career-high six points, as all 12 of his career points have come off three-pointers.

Michigan pushed the lead to nine at 5:03 in the first half, as the Wolverines worked the ball around the perimeter and eventually got it into the low post. Young took the post pass and dribbled it to the base line, where he then found a streaking Chuck Bailey (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King HS), who thundered home a two-handed dunk, giving Michigan a 28-19 lead.

Young gave Michigan its first double-digit lead of the game at 33-22 as he laid in a finger roll at 2:16. Young added another basket followed by a Blanchard long jumper from the left side.

Coming out of an Eastern timeout at 1:05, the Wolverines forced their 11th turnover of the half when Young and company trapped Eagle point guard Boo Jackson into a three-second call. Blanchard capitalized on the Eagle mistake, connecting on two free throw attempts and giving the Wolverines a 39-22 lead. As the two teams exited the floor for the half, the Wolverines ended the half on a 39-13 run, including an 11-0 run over the last 3:58.

Coming out of halftime Blanchard extended the Wolverines' lead to 20 points when he hit his first three-point basket of the game, giving Michigan a 42-22 advantage. Following a pair of free throws from Prillman, Jones put the Wolverines up 20 again as he slashed through the Eagle defense and scored his first two points of the game.

Eastern then rattled off five straight points, as Tyson Radney Jr. scored a layup and Cottrill hit his second three of the night, bringing the score to 44-29.

Following two Prillman misses from the free throw line, Rotolu Adebiyi (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron HS) entered the game and recorded his fifth rebound of season. The Adebiyi rebound led to an Ingerson layup, giving him 10 points and the Wolverines their largest lead of the game at 51-29.

Following a Young free throw, Ingerson connected on seven straight Wolverine points increasing Michigan's lead to 59-31. After the Ingerson run, Blanchard reached the 20-point mark on a three-pointer from the top of the arc, giving Michigan a 31-point lead, 62-31.

After the two teams traded baskets on four straight possessions, Robinson Jr. scored nine straight Wolverine points, pushing the Michigan lead to 78-46. The run was highlighted by one-handed breakaway dunk and his third three-pointer of the season.

With 5:58 remaining Adebiyi and Herb Gibson (Taylor, Mich./Truman HS) entered the game and gave the Wolverines a spark off the bench. Following Adebiyi's second basket of the season and a Prillman basket for Eastern, Gibson brought the crowd to its feet with a two-handed put-back dunk, leading to an Eastern timeout.

Coming out the timeout sophomore Colin Dill (Saginaw, Mich./Birmingham Country Day School) made his season debut, following surgery to remove debris from his lower left leg. On Michigan's next two possessions the Maize and Blue received back-to-back shot clock buzzer-beaters from freshmen Bailey and Ingerson, boosting U-M's lead to 86-54.

Following two Prillman baskets, Bailey ended the scoring on a layup from Ingerson with 17 seconds remaining, giving Michigan an 88-58 victory.

The Wolverines will head west Saturday, Dec. 29, to participate in the Pete Newell Challenge against San Francisco. The game is the first of a doubleheader, with the Wolverines and Dons starting at 5 p.m. PST and then Stanford and Michigan State squaring off at 7 p.m. PST.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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