The bad news on the injury front just keeps coming for the Wolverines. A Sunday collision in practice resulted in Daniel Horton being hobbled for Tuesday night's game. "He's on crutches and he is out indefinitely," said Michigan head coach Tommy Amaker. "We'll know more hopefully after some tests that we have to get results on tomorrow." The junior point guard was slated to have an MRI late last evening … the results of which will determine when he'll return.
In the meantime, the rest of the Wolverines still had a game to play. With Lester Abram and Graham Brown out as well, the starting lineup had an entirely different look. Dion Harris slid over to the one and was joined for the opening tip by John Andrews, Ronald Coleman, Brent Petway, and Chris Hunter. While the unit lacked experience, they had a wealth of size in the post. That's something Amaker decided to take advantage of early.
Chris Hunter set up shop in the post and had one of his best days as a Wolverine. He started out like gangbusters scoring nine points in the first six minutes to help the Maize and Blue gain a 13-5 lead. The Gary, Indiana native continued his scoring onslaught with six more points over the next 10 minutes to help Michigan extend the lead to 30-19. "He was very strong and I thought he was very focused," Amaker said of Hunter. "I think he knew out of the blocks that we needed him to command the middle for us and control the paint on both ends of the floor. I think its a great point that if you watch a person with how he receives the ball, that says a lot, and he really went after the basketball and set the tone for how his play was going to be based on his effort to receive the ball. I think he played according to that with a very strong performance. I thought he was able to give us an edge out of the blocks early"
In the waning moments of the period, however, High Point was able to mount an 8-2 run that sent them into intermission down by five, 32-27.
The Panthers continued to apply the pressure to the depleted Wolverines coming out of the locker room. Michigan tried to run away early, pushing the lead back out to 11, but the scrappy visitors just would not quit. Eight points by Zione White in the span of a minute-and-a-half helped High Point chop the lead back down to five halfway through the second period.
Hunter's production had dipped a bit early in the stanza, but former walk-on John Andrews picked up the slack. Seven points (including a three pointer) by the West Bloomfield native helped the home team hold off the comeback attempt. Outside observers may not have expected that type of production from Andrews, but his coaches and teammates certainly did.
"We are not surprised," Amaker said. "We're pleased. We always thought that he was a solid basketball player and were pleased that he decided he wanted to be at Michigan instead of accepting basketball scholarships to other universities. We always thought he was going to be able to help us at some point. We didn't know if it would be this early in his career, but certainly we felt that he was going to be a quality player. He's a tough kid and he's a smart kid and he plays that way."
The Wolverines' toughness eventually wore the Panthers down, as they went on 9-1 run to move the lead back out to 13, before coasting to the 67-53 victory.
The Bulls of South Florida are next on Michigan's slate. The game will tip off at noon on Saturday at Crisler Arena.