ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team escaped Crisler Arena with a 55-50 victory over Delaware State on Monday night (Dec. 22). The Wolverines (7-1) led by as many 19 points in the game, but the Hornets (1-5) stormed back to within one point with under two minutes left in the contest. Sophomore Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS), who was held scoreless for the first 36 minutes of the game, stepped up to score six of U-M's final 10 points.
Brown recorded eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and added five rebounds and one steal.
Sophomore Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS)
led Michigan with 12 points, while freshman Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS)
contributed 11 points. Senior Bernard Robinson Jr. (Washington, D.C./New Hampton Prep, N.H.)
, who scored his 1,200th career point in the second half, finished the game with 10 points. Terrance Hunter led all scorers with 22 points, including 18 in the second half to help the Hornets get back into the game.
Abram opened the scoring with an alley-oop layup off a pass from Horton. After Jahsha Bluntt put the Hornets on the board with a fast-break basket, Abram made the score 4-2 with a lefthanded runner in the lane. Sophomore Graham Brown's (Mio, Mich./Mio-AuSable HS) putback on a missed triple by Harris increased the lead to four points, but a bucket from Michael Toth kept Delaware State within two, 6-4, heading into the first timeout at 15:07.
The Wolverines pushed the lead to 12-4 thanks to a pair of triples from Harris. After another timeout, Robinson found a cutting Abram for a wide-open dunk on the wing. The Hornets scored four unanswered points to cut the deficit to 14-10 with under 10 minutes left until the break. Senior/junior J.C. Mathis' (Brooklyn, N.Y./John F. Kennedy HS) basket in the paint increased the lead to six points, but a U-M turnover led to a fast-break layup by Miles Davis.
Five straight points from Robinson and a triple from Abram allowed Michigan to take a 24-14 advantage with 5:31 left in the first half. The Wolverines would not allow a Delaware State point for the final five minutes, as Harris connected on four three throws and freshman Courtney Sims (Roslindale, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) put home two of his own to make the score 32-14 heading into halftime.
Harris led all scorers with 10 first-half points, while Abram collected nine points in the first frame. Delaware State, which was out-rebounded 22-9 in the first 20 minutes, was paced by Hunter's four points.
Brown increased the Michigan lead to 30-14 with a basket down low on the first play of the second half. Hunter broke an eight-minute Hornet scoring drought with a dunk at 17:51. Sims then answered with his first field goal to put Michigan back up by 19 points.
Those would be U-M's last points for over five minutes, as Delaware State went on a 10-0 run to climb within nine points, 35-26, and force a Michigan timeout with 12:55 to play. The Wolverines were able to sustain a 10-point lead with under eight minutes to play, as Brown scored four straight points and Abram put home his second triple of the game.
Delaware State went on an 8-1 run to cut the U-M lead to 45-42 with 4:35 left in the game. Horton's first basket came with 4:19 remaining and put the Wolverines ahead by five points. Robinson then followed with a pair of free throws to increase the cushion to 49-42. Five unanswered points from Hunter brought the Hornets within two points, 49-47, with under two minutes left.
Delaware State had a chance to tie the game, but Aaron Williams missed two crucial free throws on the next possession. After a free throw from Robinson, Aaron Matthews was fouled down low while knocking down a basket to make the score 50-49 in favor of U-M.
Williams' potential game-tying free throw was off the mark and Horton followed with a big layup to give the Wolverines a three-point edge. Time eventually ran out on the Hornets, as Mathis split a pair of free throws on an intentional foul call, and Horton nailed two more from the stripe on the ensuing possession.
The Wolverines will play their fourth of a five-game homestand against UCLA Saturday (Dec. 27) at Crisler Arena. The CBS-televised game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start. The matchup against UCLA will mark the first time the Bruins will play a game in Ann Arbor.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423