OAKLAND, Calif. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team fell to the University of San Francisco 55-47 on Saturday (Dec. 29) in the first game of the Pete Newell Challenge at The Arena in Oakland. Freshman California native Dommanic Ingerson (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara HS) led the Wolverines with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, while sophomore Bernard Robinson Jr. (Washington D.C./New Hampton Prep [N.H.]) added 13 and junior LaVell Blanchard (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) had 12.
Hondre Brewer controlled the tap for San Francisco but the Dons were unable to capitalize on the early possession as Robinson Jr. caused a held ball with a tenacious defensive effort of Brewer's shot. Robinson Jr. got the Wolverines on the board as he connected on a jumper from the left wing to make the score 2-0.
The Dons then went on a long 7-0 run as John Cox hit five straight points. The drought ended when Chris Young (Plymouth, Mich./Catholic Central HS) blocked his eighth shot of the season and passed the ball ahead to sophomore Avery Queen (Moreno Valley, Calif./Redemption Christian [N.Y.]), who found Ingerson for a three-pointer to cut the lead to two, 7-5. Fellow freshman Chuck Bailey (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King HS) made it five straight Wolverine points when he converted a put-back layup to make the score 7-7.
The Wolverines took their first lead in 10:45 minutes as Queen made the score 9-8 with 7:13 on the clock, but the Dons tied the game once again when LyRyan Russell hit a free throw to push the score to 9-9.
The Dons became the first team in double digits as Cox drove the lane to for a layup to make the score 11-9 with 5:41 remaining in the half. Blanchard cut the lead to one when he spilt a pair of free throws to make the score 11-10.
The Dons then went on a 5-0 mini-run as Cox hit a three-pointer and Brewer sank a pair of free throws. However, Michigan was able to bounce back as Queen found a breaking Ingerson, who sank his second three-pointer of the game to make the score 16-13 USF.
Tayo Akinsete's three-point play on the next possession put Dons back up six at 19-13 at 3:58. Following a USF turnover, Ingerson connected on his third triple of the game, drawing U-M within three, 19-16. However, San Francisco countered quickly as the Dons pushed the ball up court for a Mike Chambers three-pointer to make the score 22-16. The half ended on a fast-break Ingerson layup which cut USF's lead to 23-18. The Wolverines received their final eight points from Ingerson, who finished the half with 11 of Michigan's 18 points.
Cox opened the second-half scoring as he connected on a jumper for the Dons, putting them ahead 25-18. Robinson Jr. pushed the ball up court on the ensuing possession and drew a foul as he drove the lane. He hit both free throws, bringing the Maize and Blue back within five at 25-20. The two teams continued to trade baskets until USF was able to take a 34-27 lead on a Brewer layup.
Ingerson made it a five-point game when he floated a shot off the backboard to push the score to 34-29. Robinson Jr. cut the lead to three at 34-31, as he rebounded a Leon Jones (Battle Creek, Mich./Winchendon Prep [Mass.]) miss and hit a reverse layup. The Wolverines extended their scoring run following a scrappy defensive effort that gave the Maize and Blue the ball. Queen took the inbound pass and looked up court where Blanchard had eluded his man on a back-door cut. Queen sent a high pass over the defense, Blanchard caught it in mid-air and slammed home the alley-oop, cutting the Don lead to one, 34-33.
The Dons responded by going on a 10-3 run highlighted by a three-point play from Russell and three free throws to extend their lead to 44-36.
Michigan then went on a run of its own. Queen hit a baseline jumper and Robinson Jr. put in an uncontested layup. Young recorded his second block of the game, which led to a pair of Blanchard free throws as the Wolverines pulled to within two points, 44-42.
Coming out of a media timeout, the Dons went up by four as Brewer dunked home an alley-oop, pushing the score to 46-42. Following three free throws by Blanchard and a put-back by USF's Tucker, Blanchard brought the Wolverines within one off a jumper at 1:10 to make the score 48-47.
Tucker answered for the Dons and he connected on a three-point play to increase their lead to four. With the clock running down the Wolverines were forced to foul. San Francisco added four free throws in the waning seconds of the game en route to the 55-47 win.
The Wolverines (4-5) will return to action Wednesday (Jan. 2) as the Maize and Blue travels to State College, Pa., to open Big Ten Conference play with an 8 p.m. matchup with Penn State University.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423