ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team improves to 8-1 with an 87-80 win over Miami (Ohio), Thursday (Dec. 22), at Crisler Arena in front of 10,073 fans. After a tight first half in which both teams shot better than 60 percent, the Wolverines broke things open in the second half of play by holding the hot-shooting RedHawks to 44.4 percent (16-of-36) from the floor while maintaining their steady shooting and finishing the game with a 64.3 percentage (27-of-42).
Michigan had five players in double digits with senior Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) leading the way with 17 points, hitting 6-of-10 from the floor including four triples and three assists. Junior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) came away with 16 points, shooting 5-of-10 from the field including 6-of-7 from the charity stripe.
Senior Chris Hunter (Gary, Ind./West Side HS) was an integral part of Michigan sealing the victory in the second half finishing the game with perfect shooting. Hunter went 4-of-4 from the floor including a career-best 3-for-3 from long range, rounding out his performance with 4-of-4 from the free throw line.
The final two double-digit scorers were senior Graham Brown (Mio, Mich./Mio-Au Sable HS) and sophomore Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) who each finished the game with 10 points. Brown shot 4-of-5 from the floor with four rebounds while Coleman shot 3-of-4 from the floor including one from long range.
The game began in back-and-forth fashion as the lead changed hands six times over the first four minutes of play. With Michigan down 12-10 at the 16-minute mark, the RedHawks pulled away thanks to accurate shooting from the three-point line. With the help of four triples, Miami racked up 14 points compared to Michigan's six to take a 10-point lead with 11:57 remaining in the first half.
Michigan maintained their composure and began to chip away at the Miami advantage, piecing together a 13-5 run to pull within two points of the lead (31-29). The Wolverines took advantage of RedHaws' fouls, hitting seven from the charity stripe. Senior Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) and Brown each contributed to the Wolverine drive with Sims capping it off with six-straight Michigan points.
Before the half came to a close, the two teams continued to play tug of war as Horton gave Michigan its first lead since 16:27 with back-to-back three-point shots. After Miami hit one plus the bonus, Brown gave the Wolverines the lead back with a two-point basket but a last-second triple from the RedHawks put the score at a 40-39 Miami advantage to close out the half.
The second half began much like the first with five lead changes and two ties coming within the first three minutes of action. But as the half wore on, Michigan began to pull away from Miami thanks to accurate shooting from the floor, shooting 63.6 percent (14-of-22) from the floor in the second half.
The Wolverines built a solid lead by the 13-minute mark thanks to accurate shooting from Coleman, Abram, Horton and Brown. But it was Hunter who really sealed the deal for the Maize and Blue, shooting lights-out over a six-minute span. The senior forward began with two from the charity stripe before going on to net 14 of Michigan's next 18 points including a career-best three from long range.
After Hunter's rally, the Wolverines found themselves with a 74-59 lead with just over seven minutes remaining. For the rest of the game, the Michigan maintained its lead with sound shooting from the floor to keep the RedHawks at bay. Though Miami managed 19 points in the final four minutes including five triples, it was too little too late as Michigan finished on top 87-80.
The Wolverines will play their third of four straight games at home to close out the non-conference season Wednesday (Dec. 28) against Coppin State. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. EST at Crisler Arena.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423