Playing Indiana hasn't been a pleasant proposition for the Michigan Wolverines in recent years. The Hoosiers had been victorious in the past ten meetings and hadn't lost a match-up in Bloomington since 1995. From the opening moments of Saturday's game it appeared clear that history was destined to repeat itself.
The Hoosiers came out of the blocks on fire, nailing three of their first four field goals from beyond the arc to take an early 11-0 lead. Brent Petway finally got the Wolverines on the board with a free throw, but D.J. White lay-up shortly thereafter pushed the lead out to 12. Michigan finally began to show signs of life offensively by going inside to Courtney Sims. The senior big man showed a little more aggressiveness against the double team and scored four quick points to key a 7-0 run to make the score 13-8 at the 14:48 mark.
Indiana broke out of its mini scoring drought when A.J. Ratliff knocked down a triple to get the Hoosiers back on track. The Wolverines, on the other hand, went cold again. The home team managed to hold Tommy Amaker's club to one field goal for almost ten minutes. Meanwhile, Hoosier forward Lance Stemler knocked down his third three-pointer of the game to cap off a 13-7 run that pushed the lead back to double figures (26-15) with 5:14 left in the half. The only saving grace for the Wolverines was that their aggressiveness was rewarded with trips to the foul line. Michigan took advantage of its 14 first half trips to the charity stripe by cashing in on 11 of them. That efficiency helped the Maize & Blue stay in the game, and they went into the locker room down 35-26.
When the two teams came out of the break, they started the second half in much the same way they started the first. Michigan's field goal woes continued, as evidenced by their failure to hit single one for over five-and-a-half minutes. On the other side, the Hoosiers were clicking again, nailing seven of their first nine attempts to take a 49-29 lead.
The Wolverines managed to claw back into the game thanks to their continued aggressiveness. Twenty-one more trips to the free throw line in the second half helped Michigan claw back into the game and cut the lead to eight points 64-56 with 3:26 left in the game. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, they were not able to overcome the home team's effectiveness from the arc (Indiana was 10/20 from three-point land), and they went on to lose their eleventh straight at the hands of the Hoosiers 76-61.
The Wolverines finished the contest having gone to the charity stripe almost twice as many times as the Hoosiers (Michigan converted 29/35 while Indiana converted 10/18). Unfortunately for Amaker & company, that effort went for naught because the Wolverines converted only 15 field goals on the afternoon.
"It's going to be impossible on the road to have that kind of offensive production in terms of field goals made, there's no question about it," Amaker said after the game. "The saving grace for us, if there is one, is getting to the foul line, being the aggressor there. But certainly we weren't able to get enough stops where we were able to dig ourselves out of the hole that we found ourselves in. I thought the start of the game and the start of the second half was the difference where we allowed them to get out to a big margin early and then to extend their lead at the beginning of the second half."
The Wolverines hope to get back on the winning track when they return home Wednesday to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 PM.