Hoops Downs Clemson in Big 10/ACC Challenge

The Michigan basketball team improved to 4-2 on the season with a 69-61 over Clemson in the 2010 Big 10/ACC Challenge on Tuesday night. Evan Smotrycz led Michigan with 18 points and six rebounds. U-M built an early 20-point lead before holding on late in the victory.

CLEMSON, S.C. -- The Michigan basketball team downed Clemson 69-61 to win its first Big 10/ACC Challenge game in a half decade behind 18 points and six rebounds from freshman forward Evan Smotrycz on Tuesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Michigan, on a two game losing streak after dropping its final two games in the Legends Classic, built a 36-16 lead over the Clemson Tigers in the first half. Tim Hardaway Jr. hit back-to-back triples for U-M to stretch the lead near double digits seven minutes into the half. Smotrycz followed it with an old fashioned three-point play to stretch Michigan's lead to 12.

With five minutes left in the half Smotrycz struck again for seven straight points to push Michigan's lead to a commanding 32-15 margin. After a Cory Stanton free throw Michigan got easy layups from Zack Novak and Stu Douglass to push the lead to 36-16.

Three minutes later Michigan entered halftime holding a 40-24 advantage.

In the second half a six minute Michigan scoring drought helped the Tigers claw back into the game. Demontez Stitt, Noel Johnson and Andre Young all made good on three-point attempts for Clemson as the Tigers pulled with 45-37 with 12:27 to go.

Jordan Morgan, though, snapped the Wolverines skid and ripped off six straight Michigan points to end the run. With five minutes left in the contest Michigan built the lead back to 15 points on back-to-back Zack Novak triples.

Over the final minutes the Tigers cut into the Wolverines comfortable lead ending with Michigan's 69-61 margin. With the win the Wolverines improve to 4-2 on the season. Michigan returns to action Saturday at 4 p.m. taking on former head coach Tommy Amaker's Harvard team at Crisler Arena.

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