Michigan Dispatches Northwestern, 68-51

On Wednesday, Michigan returned home to Crisler Arena and the Wolverines pulled their Big 10 record even at 2-2 with a 68-51 win over the Northwestern Wildcats. In the win, the Wolverines were paced by Lester Abram and his 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor. With the win, the Wolverines also improve to 12-3 on the year as they prepare for a road trip against the University of Minnesota on Saturday.

After dropping a tight one at Illinois over the weekend, it would have been easy for the Wolverines to overlook the Northwestern Wildcats as they attempted to fight back to .500 in Big 10 play. However, the combination of strong shooting and very good pressure defense carried the Maize and Blue as they took it to Northwestern 68-51 at Crisler Arena.

"I thought our defensive pressure was very disciplined. We talked a lot about being alert and disciplined with our defense and pressure on the ball," said Michigan coach Tommy Amaker after the Michigan win. "Our kids were energetic and active. Defensively, I thought we had some really good performances out of our guys - Chris Hunter in particular was absolutely tremendous with his energy coming off the bench. He and Brent Petway really set the tone for us to continually rotate bodies on (Vedran) Vukusic."

At the opening of the game, it was Lester Abram chipping in for the Wolverines first five points of the game. A quick two-point jumper followed by a rainbow from just behind the arc put Michigan on top 5-4. And that was only a sign of things to come.

"We were just trying to be aggressive because we knew their zone has been giving Big Ten teams some problems," said Abram. "I give credit to our practice squad because they were able to simulate their one-on-one really well and we were able to attack them well, so we felt confident coming into the game."

Michigan's backcourt of Abram, Horton and Harris would only continue to dominate. Over the first 10 minutes, the trio combined for 15 of the Wolverines first 17 points of the game as they bolted out to 17-9 lead.

Northwestern would crawl back to within three behind six points from Mohamed Hached, but that was as close as they could come. Over the final five minutes of the half, the Wolverines would end the half with a 4-0 run with an exclamation point ally-oop from Brent Petway to enter the half up 38-31.

In the second half, the Wolverines began to crank up the offensive pressure. Over the first eight minutes of the second stanza, the Wildcats could only muster three points of offense. Michigan saw its lead grow to 20 points as Dion Harris, Lester Abram, Chris Hunter, Dion Harris and Ron Coleman all chipped in and Michigan went up 56-36.

Both teams would trade baskets for the remainder of the contest, but Northwestern was never able to claw back within 10 points as the Wolverines coasted to the 17 point win.

Michigan now travels to Minneapolis for an 8:00 p.m. contest on Saturday night with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Michigan will be seeking to climb above .500 in the Big 10 for the first time of the season.

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