Williams Arena hasn't been kind to the Michigan Wolverines in recent years. The last time the Maize and Blue registered a victory on Minnesota's home court, the year was 1993. That streak was finally broken Saturday night do in large part to a huge effort from Daniel Horton.
Michigan's senior floor leader got things started for the Wolverines by completing a four-point play after being fouled on a triple-try. Another three pointer moments later capped a 9-0 run that put Michigan up 9-2 four minutes into the game.
The Gophers got into the act with 7-0 spurt of their own to tie the score at the 13:29 mark, but things didn't stay knotted long. Horton and Dion Harris each connected from long distance to key a 12-0 run to retake the lead, 21-9. The Wolverines appeared to be on the verge of blowing the game open seemed ready to blow the game open, but an offensive drought left an opening for the Gophers to get back in it.
Minnesota continued the game's back-and-forth with a 9-0 run to trim the deficit to three points with 3:24 remaining in the half. Two Daniel Horton free throws finally ended a six minute scoreless period for the Wolverines. He later pushed the lead to six when he nailed yet another three pointer to send the Maize and Blue into the half up 28-22.
Horton's offense became even more important in the second half when Lester Abram went down with an ankle injury at the 17:36 mark. The Texas native was there to answer the call for his team, pouring in six early points (including another three-point bomb) to spark a 14-4 run that the Wolverines up 42-26.
Minnesota's Maurice Hargrow tried to slow the visitors growing momentum by knocking down the Gophers first three pointer of the game, but Horton immediately answered with a three pointer of his own to push the lead back to 16.
Dan Monson's club was on the ropes once again, but they had one more comeback attempt in them. Hargrow and Dan Coleman each connected on three point baskets as part of a 13-4 run that that trimmed the lead to seven, (49-42), at the 10:21 mark, but that's as close as they would get. Horton got the Wolverines back on track offensively with four straight free throws to put them up 53-44 with 8:07 remaining. That was enough to get the Maize and Blue rolling again, as they outscored the home team 18-11 down the stretch to secure the 71-55 victory.
Daniel Horton paced Michigan with a career high 32 points, while Dion Harris chipped in with 16. Maurice Hargrow led the Gophers with 16 points respectively. For more on the contest, click the following links. Boxscore, Notes & Quotes.
After the game, Amaker was pleased with the effort turned in by his players and credited them with making some of necessary at halftime adjustments themselves.
"I thought it was an incredible team effort from start to finish, but I really was impressed with the last 20 minutes in the second half," he said. "I mentioned to our kids that I felt like they did it. They did it in the locker room. They were disappointed in how we were able to finish the first half. They had some outstanding performances this evening, but it was so much of a team effort. I thought Minnesota did such a good job on the backboard, and we were having trouble keeping them off the glass. But nonetheless, some of our players stepped up in a grand fashion this evening."
Next up for the Wolverines is a Wednesday night intra-state match-up with the Michigan State Spartans. Tip-off is scheduled for 8pm at Crisler Arena.