Men's Hoopsters Pass Test In Exhibition Opener

The Michigan Men's Basketball team opened its season Saturday afternoon in Crisler Arena with an exhibition game against Michigan Tech. Tech gave the Wolverines a good test, actually leading 35-34 at the half before the Wolverines came on strong at the start of the second half to cruise to a 73-61 win.

The Huskies played a near-flawless first half, hitting five three-pointers and shooting 46 percent from the field.

But early in the second half the Wolverines applied an aggressive defense, and, led by Daniel Horton's two three-pointers and two assists, the Wolverines got a flurry of transition baskets to go on a 10-1 run and take control of the game. The Wolverines pushed the advantage to as many as 15 points before cruising to their 12 point victory.

Horton led the Wolverines with 36 minutes, 23 points (8-14, including 3-6 from three-point land), 6 assists and 8 rebounds. Lester Abram played 36 minutes as well, and added 11 points (5-15, 1-4) and 9 rebounds. The next highest minutes -- freshman guard Dion Harris, who played a very strong 33 minutes, scoring 17 points (3-6, 2-2) and adding 4 assists, 4 rebounds and an aggressive 3 steals. Senior wingman Bernard Robinson Jr. was out with an injury.

As far Michigan's front court players (soph Graham Brown and frosh Brett Petway were out with injuries), mobile freshman Courtney Sims didn't start but played the most minutes with 30, and contributed 10 points and 7 rebounds (he also 'led' the team with 4 turnovers). The starters were junior transfer J.C. Mathis (19 minutes, 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks) and sophomore Chris Hunter (18 minutes, 5 points, 2 rebounds). Redshirt freshman Amadou Ba played 13 minutes and didn't score but added 3 rebounds.

For Michigan Tech, 6-8 junior forward Josh Buettner finished with a team-high 15 points, six assists, four rebounds and three blocks. Tech also got a game-high 10 rebounds from 6-7 senior center Jason Maes.

Michigan shot 47.1% for the game and 40% on three-pointers. Tech shot 38.3% (29.6% in the second half) and 37% from three point land. Michigan outrebounded Tech 40-31, and both teams had only 10 turnovers.

Attendance at Crisler Arena was good for an exhibition, and was announced at 10,281.

A tiny peek on info from this game: does anyone doubt that the guards will lead this Wolverine team? And remember, Bernard Robinson was out! Even U-M's top two rebounders were Horton and Abram. Of course Graham Brown will bring a bit of force to the paint. And Courtney Sims showed a hint of possibly developing fast.

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