Wolverines Roll Past Cougars in Non-Conference Finale

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- For the second straight game, the University of Michigan men's basketball team used its inside-outside game to dominate play today (Saturday, Dec. 31) as the Wolverines closed out the non-conference season with an 86-69 win over Chicago State before 10,148 fans at Crisler Arena. With the win the Maize and Blue finished the non-conference season with a 10-1 record, marking the best start for the program since the 1992-93 season.


Sims was two blocked shots shy of posting a triple-double.

For the fourth straight game, the Wolverines tallied four players in double figures with junior center Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) nearly garnering the program's second triple-double as he finished with a game-high 22 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high eight blocks. His effort also helped him to his second double-double of the season and seventh of his career.

Senior guard Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) shined again on perimeter for the second straight game as he posted his second straight double-double (points-assists) after his 17 points and career-high-tying 10 assists. Senior wing Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) tallied a season-best-tying 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting while junior guard Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) had 12 points after going 5-for-10 from the field.

Sophomore wing Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) came off the bench to help the Wolverines as he tallied a career-high eight rebounds to go along with his eight points. Freshman wing Jevohn Shepherd (Toronto, Ontario/West Hill Collegiate) also came off the bench for a career-best six points and career-high-tying five rebounds.

With the start of the first half, the Wolverines took control quickly and early as they continued their hot shooting ways opening up a 10-point advantage through the first five minutes. The mixture of Abram cutting to the basket and Harris knocking down the outside shot helped Michigan build the early 24-12 lead through the first 10 minutes.

The Wolverines turned to the inside game and strong defensive pressure to push the lead to 21 with three and half minutes remaining, as Chicago State was held without a basket for four and a half minutes. Sims used his size and was strong down low as he poured in 10 first half points on 5-of-7 shooting to go along with six rebounds and three blocked shots. With the additional 15 points from Abram, who was 6-for-7 from the field, and 10 from Harris, the Wolverines closed out the first half shooting 62.1 percent from the field (18-for-29) and matching a first half season-best 20-point advantage, 46-26.

With the 20-point lead, the Wolverines came out in the second half still red hot as they rattled off the first 11 points, seven of which were at the hand of Horton, in the second stanza to extend their lead to 31-points, 59-28 with 15:53 remaining. As the half continued, Chicago State's backcourt of David Holston and Royce Parran, started to put up the three's as they rattled off six of its 11 attempts in the second half to cut into the Michigan lead.

However, any Cougar bucket was answered by U-M as the Wolverines held strong going back inside to Sims as he dominated down in the post as he had 12 points, seven rebounds and five blocks in the second half alone to help him to his seventh career double-double. Chicago State continued to make a push throughout the half, but could only lower the Wolverine lead to 15 points with four and a half minutes to go as Horton controlled play helping the Wolverines build the lead back to 22 points with under two minutes to go, eventually closing out the game with an 86-69 win.

The Wolverines will now begin their 2006 Big Ten Conference schedule with a trip to Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday (Jan. 3) as they face No. 17 Indiana at Assembly Hall. Tipoff against the Hoosiers is scheduled for 6 p.m. with the game broadcast on ESPN-Plus.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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