Michigan is now 59-33 all-time in Big Ten openers. Today's game was the second straight season that the Wolverines opened conference play against the Badgers -- both losses for U-M. The Maize and Blue is now 89-59 all-time against Wisconsin and has lost five straight to the Badgers.
Michigan suffered its first loss at Crisler Arena this season, falling to 8-1 at home.
After coming off the bench for the first 12 games, Zack Novak earned his first career start. Joining him in the starting five were David Merritt, Stu Douglass, Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims.
Entering the starting lineup for the first time this season, Zack Novak responded, scoring a career-high 20 points and hauling in a career-best eight rebounds. He finished the game shooting 5-of-8 from long range and 7-of-11 from the field overall -- all career bests.
With his career-best 20 points, Zack Novak is the third Wolverine this season to post a 20-plus point game. Manny Harris leads U-M with six, including a career-best 30 points against Michigan Tech on Nov. 11 and DeShawn Sims has four, including a career-best 28 against Duke on Dec. 6.
DeShawn Sims' 14 points helped him extend his double-figure scoring streak to 13 straight games. He closed the game 5-of-6 from the field with four rebounds.
With 11 points, Laval Lucas-Perry has scored in double figures in all four games since becoming eligible following his transfer from Arizona. Along the way, he scored over half of his points from the free-throw line, going 6-of-8 to earn career highs in both free throws made and free throws attempted.
For the second time in the last three games, Manny Harris did not score in double figures, closing with nine. He still leads U-M with 19.0 points per game.
Manny Harris has started all 45 career games at Michigan. In addition, classmate Kelvin Grady came off the bench to play in his 45th straight contest for the Wolverines. Grady has 25 career starts.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement... "I thought they put on a clinic in the first half. They were patient and they played solid defense. How many times, with the shot clock under 10, did they just play solid and wait for the shots. They are where we want our program to be one day and we've got to keep working on it. They have a seven-in-a-row NCAA run and its happening with different players, seniors graduate, everything happens. It has to be our goal to be as solid as they were tonight."
On the team playing hard but not smart... "I think that poise would be the word right now. Not smart is a little bit demeaning. We just have to develop the poise to know what it takes to win games like this when we are playing teams the really execute their offense. Defensively, the way we were going they were going to score 120 -- I think in the first 10 possessions they scored nine times. It was a bad start defensively and you just can't get behind against teams like that."
On the play of Zack Novak... "That's why he is out there; that's why we made the adjustment. We need more of that -- forget about him hitting the threes -- he's just out there grinding away; he was our leading rebounder today. He just gives us some stuff there that we have to continue work at. He played so darn hard and the fact that he can spot up and shoot is really good."
U-M Freshman Guard Zack Novak
On the team's defense... "We have to come out better right off the bat. To come in and let them score 12 of their first 13 possessions, that is not the way we play defense and we know that. We have some things we need to work on before Illinois, but I think we will be able to do it."
On his offensive contributions... "I was pretty much just hitting open shots. Like I said before, that is what I am here to do and my teammates set me up today. I just did what I had to. I am getting more comfortable as the season goes on and those (rebounds and taking charges) are the things I have to do, especially playing smaller. I just have to out-scrap people."
U-M Sophomore/Freshman Guard Laval Lucas-Perry
On the loss... "I know this is a tough loss, but we need to keep our head through this thing. We are running a marathon. We lost the first leg, but we need to keep going."
U-M Fifth-year Senior Guard C.J. Lee
On what the team takes from the loss... "We take that you can't spot teams points, on your court or away. Wisconsin is a great team and they were just efficient today. They made shots, they got stops on defense and they played extremely well. In the second half, they really utilized the shot clock and took the ball down under 10 every time and that is tough when you play defense for 25 seconds, and they score or they get an offensive rebound and it can be demoralizing."