ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team improved to 9-1 with an 81-53 win over Coppin State, Wednesday (Dec. 28), at Crisler Arena in front of 10,017 fans. The game began closer than Michigan would have liked as the Wolverines led by just five points after the first half. But the Maize and Blue took over as their second-half shooting exploded, hitting 74.1 percent (20-of-27) from the floor to cruise to the 28-point victory.
The Wolverines had four in double digits with junior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) leading the attack. After scoring 12 in the first half, Harris helped Michigan gain distance from Coppin State, hitting three triples in just over three minutes to finish the contest with a season-best 21 points. Harris shot 7-of-12 from the floor including five triples and four assists.
Junior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) also helped in the second-half rally, just missing the 20-point mark with 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting to go along with eight rebounds. After scoring just six points in the first half, Sims came alive in the final 20 minutes of play, recording 13 points on six field goals and one free throw.
Senior Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) turned in a solid performance for the Maize and Blue, recording his first career double-double with 11 points and a career-high-tying 10 assists. Horton shot 4-of-7 from the floor including one triple while coming away with four rebounds. His double-double marked the first for a Wolverine guard since the 1999-2000 season. Senior Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting including one triple and five assists.
The Wolverines took control out of the gate, accumulating a 10-3 lead within the first four minutes of play. Horton set the pace early on, putting up five-straight points in 50 seconds before Sims put up his first field goal of the evening and Abram hit a three-point shot.
But the Eagles were quick to even things up, scoring eight-straight points to take an 11-10 lead with 12:50 remaining in the half. Michigan continued the tug of war, putting a stop to Coppin State's momentum as Harris helped the Wolverines to an 8-2 run over two minutes of play. The junior guard recorded six-straight points to give Michigan an 18-13 lead with 10:34 left on the clock.
The half continued in this back-and-forth fashion with the two teams trading hot streaks to keep the score right around even. Though the Eagles looked as though they were going to break things open after taking a small 24-21 lead with 7:30 remaining, the Wolverines kept themselves within a safe distance before rattling off 10-straight points to take their first lead (33-27) since there were nine minutes to go in the half.
As the clock ticked down, the Wolverines had the chance to head into the break with a significant advantage. Coppin State hit a field goal to put them within four, but Harris hit his second triple of the evening to put Michigan up by seven. But an Eagles' fall-away, baseline jumper at the buzzer put Coppin State within five, 31-36, heading into the locker rooms.
The second half was vastly different from the first and it was apparent from the get-go. The Wolverines came out of the locker rooms in dominating fashion, rattling off eight-straight points while holding the Eagles scoreless for a 44-31 lead within the first three minutes of play.
The Wolverines wouldn't look back as they continued to hit their shots while holding the Eagles to minimal scoring, allowing them just 29.4 percent (10-of-34) from the floor compared to 47.6 percent (10-of-21) in the first. As the clock ticked on, Sims' solid second-half performance combined with continued consistence from Harris and sound leadership from Horton kept the Wolverines out of reach.
The Eagles would continue to fight, but their sporadic field goals weren't enough to overcome Michigan's significant lead and the Wolverines took the 81-53 victory at Crisler Arena.
The Wolverines will complete their non-conference schedule with a New Year's Eve contest against Chicago State on Saturday (Dec. 31). Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. EST at Crisler Arena.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423