Daniel Horton opened the scoring with a triple
to put the Wolverines on top 3-0. Just a minute later, however, Guillermo
Diaz knotted it 3-3 with a three-ball to draw the Miami Hurricanes even.
And then the Wolverines took over.
Sherrod Harrell broke a 5-5 tie with a lay-up to put the Wolverines on top for good. Daniel Horton followed Harrells lay-up with his second three-point shot of the game to extend U-M lead to seven to...and the home team was off and running. After a Miami timeout, Dion Harris extended the Wolverines lead to nine points with a two-point jumper before Courtney Sims concluded the11-0 run with a basket to put Michigan on top 16-5. Thoughts of the Maize and Blue's 74-53 victory back in November had to be running through the minds of the visitors,but they did not fold. Instead, they fought every step of the way.
"We felt that if we could somehow get the lead on this team and maybe put them in position that maybe they'd want to call it a season [it would be easier], but they never did," Amaker said. "They battled every step of the way. We had to finish the game strong. I was really impressed and pleased for our seniors. We talked about having another opportunity to finish their careers here at Crisler the right way with possibly a win. We didn't have the opportunity to do that against IU via the regular season, but we were fortunate to get this one tonight and they did a tremendous job to provide that for themselves and for the program."
Miami answered with a run to cut the lead down to four points. Guillermo Diaz,
Raymond Hicks and Robert
Hite hit consecutive baskets to draw Miami within four.
Chris Hunter and Dion Harris combined to push the Wolverines back to nine points just over halfway through the first stanza, but once again Miami mustered a response. A pair of triples along with a pair of lay-ups pulled Frank Haith's club within two points with just minutes left in the half.
U-M would end the half on a 7-0 run to go into the locker room on top 38-29.
Miami opened the second half with a free throw and a two-point bucket to close within six to open the second half, but the Hurricanes would get no closer in a back and forth second half. Lester Abram and Chris Hunter hit four straight points for the Wolverines as they hit their first double digit lead of the game.
After a Raymond Hicks two-point jumper the Wolverines would go on a 5-0 run to push the lead to 13 and the biggest of the game. Miami went on a run to cut the lead back down to five but that was as close as they got. Daniel Horton would score the final six points for the Wolverines as they coasted to a 71-65 victory.
"With our team, it's amazing what we can accomplish when no one cares who gets the credit," Amaker said after the win. "That's the way our kids have played the last few days. They've played in that manner, they've practiced that way. We just told them, 'Let's continue to play as we've practiced.' That's been our "M-O" and that's the way it's been going for us. We're going there with these guys [to New York] and I'm so pleased that they've had the chance to get into the Final Four of this great tournament. I also wanted to say how impressed and pleased we were with the effort that our fans and our crowd gave us. I thought that their energy, their balance, their loud voices and everything that they provided us was certainly a big shot in the arm for this team here tonight."
On the game Daniel Horton led the four Wolverines in double figures with 19 points and fives assists. Meanwhile, Guiellrmo Diaz registered a team and game high 20 points. For more on the contest, click the following links: Boxscore, Notes, Quotes, Photos.
Next up for the Wolverines is a NIT semfinal mathcup with Old Dominion Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. The Monarchs defeated Hofstra earlier tonight 61-51. Tip-off with take place at either 7:00 p.m. or 9:30 p.m and will be carried live on ESPN 2.