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.
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