Tommy Amaker's club came out clicking on offense, jumping out to a 12-4 lead with 15:21 left in the first half behind five early points from senior point guard Daniel Horton. From that point on their offensive efficiency took a dip, and they scored only three points over the next five minutes. The Terriers didn't fare much better though, as they still trailed 15-8 at the 10:21 mark.
The Wolverines got a much-needed boost when freshman Jevohn Shepherd entered the lineup. His dogged on-the-ball defense bothered the BU backcourt when the home team had the ball, and he attacked the basket on offense when the Wolverines had possession. His activity was extremely evident during a 10-second span in which he grabbed a defensive rebound, missed a lay-up attempt on the other end, grabbed the offensive rebound, and then converted the lay-up to push Michigan's advantage to nine (17-8). That said, the Wolverines still were not able to get on track offensively, and Terriers took advantage of the opportunity.
Shaun Wynn kicked off the BU comeback effort with a three-pointer to ignite a 14-6 run that cut Michigan's lead to one, 23-22, with 2:51 to go. Shepherd again came to the rescue, though, crashing the boards on both ends of the court and converting an and-1 prior to the half to help the Maize and Blue head into the locker room up 26-22.
The Wolverines came out of the intermission hoping to find some continuity on offense, but their opponents had other ideas. Michigan's only points in the first six-plus minutes came on four shots from the charity stripe, but they still held a 30-26 lead at the 13:42 mark. They finally converted their first field goal of the second half when Horton nailed a triple seconds later to extend the lead to seven, but the Terriers just would not go away.
Boston guard Corey Hassan answered Horton's three-pointer with one of his own to cut the lead back to four. Hassan had missed six previous attempts from behind the arc, but the make seemed to give him confidence. The Terrier freshman hit on his next two tries from long distance as well, but that was not enough. BU was never able to cut the lead below four points because Daniel Horton took the game into his own hands.
Up 37-33 at the 5:35 mark, Horton went on a one-man basket assault, outscoring the home team 7-2 in just under two minutes to put Michigan up 45-34 with 3:44 to go. He then iced the game from the free throw line by knocking down four consecutive freebies down the stretch to help secure the 51-46 victory.
"They came back, but Daniel wouldn’t allow us to lose," Amaker said afterward. "Making free throws, getting the rebounds, putting the shots up at times when we needed it in that stretch where we stretched the lead out there for a few points. He’s done that before, we’ve seen him make those kinds of plays and those big shots when we needed them and we certainly needed them tonight."
Another player that drew praise from Michigan's headman was Jevohn Shepherd. The freshman played a lot of minutes in place of Dion Harris, and was a factor on both ends of the floor…but especially defensively. "We mentioned that as well in front of the team and they gave him a great round of applause because he gave us some incredible minutes," Amaker said regarding Shepherd's defensive effectiveness. "Defensively, he was long, he was active, he came up with a huge block in the second half. I was impressed that he was able to handle the situations going down the stretch for us to be able to win this game and he was right in the middle of it."
Though his team didn't execute as efficiently as he would have liked, Amaker was very pleased with the victory. He felt this game would be tougher than most expected when saw the Terriers play pretty well against his alma-mater last week. "We just told our kids that we really feel this is a very impressive victory for us because we recognize the success this program has had," Amaker said of Boston. We recognize how they played at Duke – the No. 1 team in the country – on the road and how they battled those guys down in North Carolina. So [it was good] seeing us be able to win on the road here against this team, [but] obviously it wasn’t pretty. We did a lot of things that hopefully we will never do again. But we gutted it out and what can you say about Daniel Horton’s play."
On the game Horton led the Wolverines with 21 points and four steals, while Boston was led by Kevin Gardner with 12 points and four blocks. For more on the game click the following links: Boxscore, Notes & Quotes.
The Wolverines will hit the hardwood again this Saturday at 2pm with they take
on Butler at Crisler Arena.