The disappointment from Michigan's one point loss to the Arizona Wildcats a few nights ago seemed to have subsided early in today's NIT consolation game against the Providence Friars. The Maize and Blue got out of the blocks quickly, jumping out to a 13-3 lead in the first seven minutes behind six from Dion Harris. The Friars finally broke a four minute scoreless streak when Gerald Brown converted a lay-up to cut the deficit to single digits. That ignited a 10-0 run that got Providence right back in the game. Brown accounted for six of the points on the Friar's comeback trail, but it was the play of Dwight Brewington that made it all possible.
Providence's lead guard generated a number of easy shot opportunities for his teammates, while also managing to find his own offense in the process. In addition, he hounded Michigan's guards and helped force them into some very costly turnovers. When all was said and done, his play combined Michigan's own carelessness with the ball, would cause Tommy Amaker's squad to unravel.
Michigan was able stop the run when Daniel Horton got the ball down low to Sims for an easy deuce, but that wasn't enough to hold the Friars off. Brewington finally tied the score again with a three point bomb to make it 25-25 with 5:34 to go in the half. The two teams would trade baskets the rest of the way and headed into the locker with 30 apiece.
Brewington came out of the intermission and picked up right where he left off, converting a quick lay-up to give the Friars a 32-30 advantage. The Wolverines kept pace and stayed within striking distance thanks to seven combined points from Dion Harris and Courtney Sims to make the score 38-37 before making a move that would give them the lead. Dani Wohl nailed a three-pointer to give Michigan its first lead of the half. They were able to push it out to four points (46-42) with 12:05 left on the clock, but the Providence would respond with a run that would practically put the game out of reach.
Brewington netted five points and Brown added six over a three minute period as part of a 14-0 run that gave the Friars a 56-46 lead. Lack of ball security on Michigan's part led frequently led to fast break opportunities for the Friars. THeir 16-2 advantage in points in transition caused Amaker to call a timeout with 8:51 left in the game.
Daniel Horton nailed a thee out of the break and Brent Petway went air born for a huge tomahawk slam to cut the score to five with just under eight minutes to go. The Friars, however, had one more outburst in them that would put the game away. A 7-1 run over the next three minutes effectively put the game out of reach as Providence went on to win 72-63.
On the game, Michigan was led by Dion Harris with 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Dwight Brewington led the Friars with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocks. For the complete boxscore, click here.
Next up for the Wolverines is a match-up in the Big Ten ACC challenge with the third ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.