The Wolverines limped out of the gates offensively Tuesday evening, going only 4/19 from the field in the first ten minutes. Their poor perimeter shooting could have cost them dearly, but fortunately for Tommy Amaker’s club they were very strong on the boards and trailed by only four, (14-10) midway through the period.
The Hoosiers, meanwhile, were very simple and very deliberate in their attack. Mike Davis wanted his team to pound the ball inside with the talented low post tandem of DJ White and Marco Killingsworth, and his plan worked almost to perfection. The frontcourt duo combined for 18 first half points to help put the home team 24-17 with 2:55 to go.
Dion Harris brought the Wolverines back before the intermission, though, scoring five of the Maize and Blue’s final seven points, (including his second three of the night), to send the two teams into the locker room knotted at 24.
After the break Harris picked up right where he left off in the first half, nailing another jumper to give Michigan its first lead since the opening basket of the game. That’s when Indiana’s Robert Vaden stepped up his offensive production in a big way. After going scoreless in the first half, the sophomore wing nailed his Hoosier record 11th and 12th consecutive three pointers before Roderick Wilmont drove to the rack for a dunk to put Mike Davis’s squad back up 32-31.
Michigan responded with four quick points to regain the lead, but then Vaden struck again. The 6-5, 224-pounder hit another jumper to ignite a 22-10 Hoosier run to give Indiana a 54-45 advantage with 8:46 left to play.
The Hoosiers threatened to blow the game wide open but Daniel Horton would not let his team die. The senior floor general drained two straight jumpers to start a 10-1 run that tied score at 55 at the 5:42 mark. The Wolverines had momentum on their side at that point, but they simply could not stop Vaden.
The youngster that Mike Davis describes as his team’s best player nailed three straight jumpers to put his team up four (61-57). Then Killingsworth put the nail in Michigan’s coffin with two back breaking lay-ups to put Indiana up 65-59, before the Hoosiers iced the game from the line to bring home the 70-63 victory.
On the game Daniel Horton led the Wolverines with 20 points and five assists, while Graham Brown with eight points and a career high 21 rebounds. Brown’s effort on the glass was the best since Loy Vaught achieved that same number in 1990. The last Michigan player to record at least 20 rebounds in a game was Juwan Howard in 1993.
Robert Vaden led five Hoosiers in double figures with 17. For the full box score, click here.
"I thought that it was a game that was see-sawing back and forth with runs and each team answered as another team made a run,” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. “We did it at the end [of the first half] and tied it up and they did it later in the second half and we got it back to a one-possession game and tied it up again. Certainly, I thought a couple of other breakdowns hurt us too. In offensive rebounds and they were able to gain on free throws. It was very deflating. I was pleased with our effort. I thought we battled and we competed and we fought for this. We knew coming into this game that certainly the big challenge - the big chore for us - is to win at home. So now we have to turn around and take a day off and get ready for Purdue on Saturday."
This weekend’s match-up with the Boilermakers will be a noon tip at
noon at Crisler Arena.