The scrappy Fairfield Stags entered to Crisler Arena Saturday night looking to derail the Michigan Wolverines from the recent roll they had been on. There prospects for doing that increased when it was discovered that Chris Hunter would not be available for the contest. The injury bug continued to be unkind to Tommy Amaker's squad, as the high ankle sprain the 6-11 junior suffered versus Iowa was still a little too tender for him to lace on the sneakers against the Stags. His absence, however, was dealt with the way all of the others have been for most of the season; someone else stepped up.
Freshman Ronald Coleman continued his strong play of late by scoring a career high 18 points Saturday night. He got things started for the Maize and Blue by notching the home team's first five points on a driving lay-up and a triple. Moments later, at the 16:24 mark, Dion Harris gave the Wolverines their first lead with a lay-up that made the score 7-6. Attempts to expand the margin were thwarted by the Stags until a run with less than nine minutes in the half gave Michigan a little cushion.
Leading 18-17 with 8:43 to go, Ronald Coleman sparked the run with a big triple. Brent Petway followed that up with a dunk off of an alley-oop that energized both the crowd and his team. When all was said and done, the Wolverines had gone on a 9-0 spurt (courtesy of five from Coleman) to give them a 27-17 lead with 6:08 remaining.
Deng Gai ended the run with a dunk, and two straight three pointers from Terrence Todd cut the Stags deficit back to two, (27-25). The Wolverines, however, responded with another run to curb the visitors' comeback.
Back to back threes from Coleman and Dion Harris ignited a 12-2 run to close out the period, sneding Wolverines into the halftime locker room up 39-27.
Michigan blew things open early in the second half with 11-2 run to make the score 53-38 with just over 12 minutes to go, before cruising to the 70-48 victory. Dion Harris led all scorers on the game with 20 points. For more, including the full boxscore, click the following links: (Boxscore, Notes, Quotes).
The Wolverines' impressive second half performance didn't come without a few bumps. The most significant was yet another injury to the already depleted club.. In the final minutes of the game Brent Petway suffered a shoulder injury while going for a loose ball. "I was going for the rebound and the guy pulled my arm," Petway said. "He was a little behind me, so when he did it, he pulled it back at the same time. That made my shoulder pop out. I popped it back in myself. It is something that has happened many times before. I don't think I'll be out very long."
It isn't yet known how many games, if any, Petway will miss. While he may be out for Wednesday's contest with Northwestern, Chris Hunter could be back. The Gary Indiana native indicated after the game that his ankle is feeling better everyday and that there is a very good chance that he will be back on the floor when the Wildcats come to town.