With the 76-56 win over Northeastern, Michigan won the Ann Arbor Regional of the 2K Sports Classic and has advanced to the championship rounds at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Wolverines will play the winner of the Los Angeles Regional on Thursday, Nov. 20, at 9 p.m. on ESPN2. This will be U-M's first trip to the Garden since losing, 76-64, in the 2006 Postseason NIT final to South Carolina.
Manny Harris earned Ann Arbor Regional MVP honors after averaging 28.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in U-M's two victories. He posted a career-high 30 points in the opening game against Michigan Tech yesterday (Nov. 11) and posted his first career double-double with 26 points and a career-high 10 rebounds against Northeastern tonight. He also tied a career high with eight assists tonight, nearly posting a triple-double.
With the 76-56 win against Northeastern, Michigan is now 8-0 all-time against current members of the Colonial Athletic Association. The win also gives the Wolverines a 2-0 record for the sixth straight season.
Michigan shot 96.2 percent from the free throw line (25-for-26). It was the first time U-M has eclipsed the 90-percent mark from the foul line since Feb. 21, 2008, at Minnesota (91.7 percent, 11-for-12). U-M made its first 24 free throws of the contest.
For the second straight game, Michigan had David Merritt, Stu Douglass and Manny Harris starting on the perimeter and Anthony Wright and Zack Gibson starting in the front court.
With his start against Northeastern, Manny Harris has now started 34 straight games and has not missed a start in the last two seasons.
With his 26 points against Northeastern, along with his 30 points against Michigan Tech, Manny Harris scored 20-plus points in back-to-back contests for the first time in his career. He now has 30 career double-figure scoring games with 10 of 20 or more points.
With his 26 points and his career-high 10 rebounds, Manny Harris posted his first career double-double. In fact, he becomes just the second Wolverine on the current roster to have a double-dip -- DeShawn Sims has two in his career, including one yesterday when he had points and a career-high 12 rebounds against Michigan Tech.
Manny Harris tied a career high with eight assists. The last time Harris recorded eight assists was Jan. 12, 2008, at Northwestern.
With his 19 points against Northeastern, DeShawn Sims scored in double figures for the second straight game and 28th time in his U-M career. He opened the season with 10 points against Michigan Tech.
David Merritt tied a career high with seven points. Merritt first reach seven points against Ohio State on Feb. 17, 2008.
Zack Novak scored his first collegiate points with a six-point effort against Northeastern. His first career points came on a three-pointer that rattled around and then fell in for the bucket.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
On the win... "I really think that Northeastern is going to be a very good team this year. They made a Canadian tour earlier this year, played six or seven games, and they have everyone back (from last season). The CAA, which I used to be in with Richmond, is a heck of a conference. George Mason obviously went to the Final Four out of that, so they are going to be a good team. I feel good about winning despite the glaring thing which is their 20 offensive rebounds. It is just going to happen a little bit when you are smaller. Other than that, I thought we were efficient with the ball, shot over 50 percent again; we had very good shot selection."
On early mistakes... "It's been three weeks now of practice and it is really hard to mesh people together with different people playing different positions, one of those two freshmen (Zack Novak and Stu Douglass) are always in the game and Zack (Gibson) was in foul trouble all game so it was tough to get our timing down."
On Manny Harris... "It was a pretty good two days for him, that's for sure. We are trying to give him better opportunities to see the floor, to rebound, to do everything. He had eight assists and I think he had three the first night. Those numbers we think can be way up. We are trying to get him into some space."
On DeShawn Sims and Manny Harris... "They have played together many times and they look for each other, and they both have a knack for finding little grooves and slithering around to find little openings. I am really happy with DeShawn, with how he caught in the post and how he was strong in the post."
On rebounding... "It is just part of a tradeoff that you have to do if you are smaller and you have skill players that are not as tough. This is a tremendous rebounding team, but we need to shore up some things with physical toughness and just going to box out, finding a man. I thought in the second half there were some fluke rebounds, but we did a better job of being there. But we got out-toughed several times inside. Rebounding is very significant, but the final score is what we care about more than anything, it really is. They got offensive rebounds, but we won by 20; we will take that. I remember the year St. Joes was 31-0 and I think the stat was they got outrebounded all 31 games. It's a relative stat. It's important but look at the bigger picture of the turnovers you caused or the threes you were able to hit because you weren't as big as they were inside."
On playing in Madison Square Garden... "I don't know how we will react. Most of our kids, besides the freshmen, got to play on pretty big stages last year. They've been in Cameron, they have been to the Big Ten Tournament, they have been to all the tough places to play in the Big Ten. I love the Garden, it's always been a great place for my teams to play so let's go experience it and see how we do. I think anytime you go on the road it is a good bonding experience. We look at that as a way to build team chemistry."
U-M Junior Forward DeShawn Sims
On playing tough teams... "We definitely know what it takes to play tough teams. The majority of those games last year we were in them in the second half. Except for Georgetown and Duke, we were in those games in the second half. Those were winnable games, and we know what it takes to win those games as veterans that played last year."
On winning a game at the Garden... "It will go a long way to making it a successful season. Winning a game at the Garden will give us the adrenaline and the mindset that we can basically win anywhere."
On the improved rebounding in the second half... "I commend Northeastern. They do a great job at whatever they do at practice getting the offensive rebounds. They did a great job. They wanted it more than us on the rebounding end, but we tried to adjust. They still got some points off of offensive rebounds in the second half, but we did a great job of boxing them out. They were a big team."
U-M Sophomore Guard Manny Harris
On playing in Madison Square Garden... "I'm excited. I've never played there before. The team is anxious, but most of all we play one of the top teams, I'm assuming. We're hungry and we want to go down there and get a win."
On the importance of defense in tonight's game... "We were good, but we could have been better. We watched film for that, but for the most part we were good. We got the win, so I guess it was alright."
On playing against UCLA and using it as a measuring stick... "Oh, yeah, that's definitely a game that we have to prove ourselves. We come out -- I call it a confidence game. If we win one of those games, then for the rest of the season I feel like our team will have incredible confidence."
U-M Freshman Guard Zack Novak
On the first two wins of the season... "These are two pretty big wins here just to get out of our pod to get to go to New York and play UCLA. We're doing what we need to do. We're on the right course and getting better every day."
On coming in and getting lots of time on the court... "It's been pretty good so far. Coming in, Stu (Douglass) and I are splitting time about equal time and doing what we need to do to get this team scoring buckets and playing defense. We're trying to get a little bit of everything going."
On playing well on the defensive end tonight..."I think that's one of my roles on this team, to go out there and provide a spark off of the bench. On the defensive end, I try to come in and force some deflections and some turnovers and get some stops because sometimes our best offense is getting some defense going."
On playing in Madison Square Garden... "I think it's a good chance for us to go there and show everyone what Michigan basketball is all about. I think we're looking forward to a good challenge."