In a pregame ceremony, the University of Michigan Athletic Department presented U-M head coach John Beilein with a commemorative basketball after he garnered his 500th win at a four-year college in a victory over Northwestern on Jan. 24. With win over Penn State tonight, Beilein is now at 501 wins with four-year colleges and 576 in his 31-year coaching career.
Today is Beilein's birthday as he turned 56. Overall, he is 6-2 in games played on his birthday.
The win tonight snapped a two-game losing streak for Michigan. It also improved the Wolverines to 12-2 at Crisler Arena this season.
For the eighth time this season, Michigan altered its starting lineup. C.J. Lee, Laval Lucas-Perry and Manny Harris started on the perimeter and Zack Novak and Zack Gibson in the front court. It marks Lee's second straight start.
Tonight's win marked the first time the Nittany Lions lost after leading at halftime. Before tonight, Penn State was 15-0 when leading at the half this season.
With its defensive pressure, Michigan held Penn State's and the Big Ten's leading scorer, Talor Battle, to just nine points. It was just the second time this season that he did not score in double figures. He closed the game 3-of-16 from the field and 1-of-9 from long range.
With 10 three-point field goals, Michigan posted its eighth game this season with double-digit triples.
Manny Harris' 28 points give him 18 games scoring in double figures this season, marking his 10th 20-plus point scoring effort of the season. Overall, it was the 46th double-figure scoring game of his career and the 18th 20-plus effort. With his 28 points, Harris surpassed 900 career points and now sits at 922 in his two seasons at U-M. He leads the squad, averaging 17.7 points per game.
After scoring nine points in the first half, Manny Harris exploded in the second half with 19 more, giving him a game-high 28. He also closed with six rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and two steals in 34 minutes of action.
Manny Harris closed 11-of-14 from the charity stripe to earn his fifth game this season with double figures in free throws made. He is shooting 86.6 percent (129-of-149) for the season from the line.
After DeShawn Sims did not score in the first half for the first time this season, he rallied in the second half to close the game with nine points, seven rebounds and a career-high five assists with no turnovers. He also tied a career high with three blocked shots.
Stu Douglass snapped his shooting slump, posting his fourth career double-figure scoring game with a career-high 13 points, including three long-range buckets. Douglass closed the night going 5-of-9 from the field. Before tonight's performance, Douglass was 0-of-12 from the field and 0-of-9 from long range over the last two games.
In his second start of the season, C.J. Lee tied his career high with four assists for the second time this season and for the fourth time in his career. He added five points and three rebounds.
With C.J. Lee attending the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy, a group of 100 students, faculty and administrators came to cheer Lee on against Penn State. The "Fordies" were able to take a photo with Lee following the game.
Manny Harris has started all 55 games in his Michigan career. In addition, classmate Kelvin Grady came off the bench, giving him 55 straight games played for the Wolverines. Grady has 31 career starts.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement... "I haven't gone into one game this year and said this is important, and I don't know if I would have told you this if we would have lost, but we really thought this was an important game, to be able to beat another team that is competing for an NCAA bid, is in the middle of the Big Ten with us and has proven that they can win on the road. To hold court at home, you absolutely know that you can't lose too many home games and be at the top of your league. Big win for us, great defense, the best we have played all year."
On the second-half adjustments... "I did not like our tempo at halftime. We spent our whole time on defense because we were shooting so quickly. I just said that we have to learn our lesson, trust our teammates, trust what we do, trust what we practice and we will score points. But we were spending our whole time on defense. They were spending 20 seconds with the ball and we were spending five on too many occasions."
On defending Talor Battle... "We watch C.J. Lee everyday when he is guarding people and he does a great job, so we said he's probably our best defender and this is probably the best point guard in the country. We're going to put C.J. on him and he's going to play him. David (Merritt) is another great defender, and we are just going to try to wear him out and they certainly did a good job. Stu (Douglass) and Laval (Lucas-Perry) did a wonderful job on (Stanley) Pringle as well."
On Manny Harris' play... "I loved his second half. I thought he played as good of a second half as he has played all year. He had assists, he took care of the basketball, he shot the ball well, and he was very patient. I hope that will be the beginning of what I hope will be a very consistent Manny Harris in the future."
U-M Fifth-Year Senior Guard C.J. Lee
On needing everyone to play a part to be successful... "I think guys know the roles that they play on this team, and I think guys know what they have to do in order for us to win. When you are challenged, you have to respond to that. I think we, as a team, were challenged by our coach and we responded, but we have to continue to keep that going. It is only one game. Obviously there are more to play, but the main thing about him challenging us was us taking ownership of the situation."
On looking forward to Saturday... "This is why you play college basketball. This is why when you were younger working out seeing these games on TV, you were like 'I want to be there playing in that game on national television.' We have an opportunity like that. These last four games, Purdue, Penn State, UConn and Michigan State, everyone is going to be watching these games and these games are vitally important to our season. There is a lot of stuff that we can't control, but we have to control our effort and our intensity. That is what we are going to do against UConn. I know we are going to have a good game plan. We are going to have one day to prep and we are going to see what we can do."
U-M Junior Forward DeShawn Sims
On totaling five assists with zero turnovers... "I did a good job of finding my teammates and I wasn't pressing to shoot a lot. I played off of penetration, had some open lanes and looked for the open guy."
On his eight points... "I definitely was looking for just substance. I wanted to be able to come in big when my team needed me, and I was able to do that tonight."
On the significance of the win... "We needed this win. This win was important. We had been struggling as of late as far as home and away, so this win was a big one and we needed it for the program."
U-M Sophomore Guard Manny Harris
On the early second-half surge... "We had some talking at halftime that kind of just picked it up; people talking to each other and it picked it up. I think from the beginning of the second half, the spark was there."
On bouncing back... "We know we had to have this win losing -- I don't know what it was -- (five) of our last six games. (Penn State had) just came off a huge win at Michigan State, a team that we felt that we could beat, and we didn't want to let it slip away at home."
On if the win sets the tone for Saturday... "Definitely confidence. We feel like we have momentum, and we are going to go in Saturday looking to win. It is the number one team, so you have to get hyped to play that game."
On playing No. 1 UConn... "That is what you come to Michigan for. I am excited to play the number one team. I think our team plays at our best when we play higher-ranked teams, even though we should play the same every game. There is something about playing those types of games where our team picks it up."
U-M Freshman Guard Stu Douglass
On what the defense scheme contributed to the offense... "We finally got out. They were running a lot in the first half, and we kind of flipped the switch and we ran the second half. I don't think we gave up as many offensive rebounds in the second half. The defense played a huge key into our offense. Sometimes I don't think we realize that."
On playing better in the second half... "I think maybe a little bit with how important this game was; we knew that we were down with our backs against the wall a little bit, and we knew we had to come together. It could have been the end of the season, figuratively speaking. You never know, but we knew we had to come together."
On what the game does for him... "A lot of confidence. A lot of confidence in the team, mostly in the team, to know that we could do this. I was talking to coach after the game that we were making it look so easy, and we haven't been doing that the last few games. This game we really did that."