It wasn't against Duke, but it'll have to do.
In the Wolverines season opener on the hardwood, the Michigan basketball team used a strong second half performance, including a 6-for-9 performance from behind the three point arc, to jump start the new season with a deceptive 60-40 win over the Central Connecticut State Blue in the opening round of the John Thompson Classic on Friday night at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor.
In the opening minutes of the contest, neither team was able to establish a steady offense as both teams had trouble holding onto the basketball. After three minutes of play, the Wolverines had etched out just a 4-1 lead on visiting CCSU.
"We certainly didn't play like we've been playing in the exhibition games and our practices, in the first half. I thought our guys got a little anxious and excited, which can lead to some bad decisions and poor decisions. We certainly saw that in the first half," said Michigan coach Tommy Amaker after the game. "I was impressed that we settled down and moved the ball better against the zone, in the second half."
Ron Coleman eventually got the Michigan offense going with a pair of buckets down in the low post. Jerret Smith and Courtney Sims followed his example and the Wolverines fought out to an early 12-4 lead.
The Blue Devils battled back, however, and it took a pair of Dion Harris three-balls to push the Wolverines lead out to a comfortable 10 point margin at 20-10 with just under three minutes to go in the half before Michigan fans were able to breathe easy.
"I just think there was good ball movement. We penetrated and found the open man. Luckily I was open a couple times and knocked the shot down."
Michigan led just 23-14 at the half, and the Wolverines netted just four field goals, three of them from long range, in the opening 20 minute frame.
As the teams returned to the court for the second half, the Wolverines found the offense they had been missing in the first half. Dion Harris opened the half with a quick scoring out burst that opened up the paint for center Courtney Sims. By seven minutes into the half, the Wolverines lead had swollen to 17 points.
Michigan continued to extend the lead, and it eventually grew to as large as 24 points before the Wolverines and Blue Devils exchanged baskets until the final horn sounded in a 60-40 Michigan win.
The Wolverines now look to improve to 2-0 with a win over Davidson on the second day of the John Thompson Classic.
Men's Hoopsters win opener 60-40
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