Dismal Second Half Dooms Wolverines

The Michigan basketball team fell to 3-2 in Big 10 play with a 15-point 66-51 loss to the Illinois Fighting Illini on Wednesday night at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill. Manny Harris was the lone Wolverine player able to get on track offensively with 20 points and three assists.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- No. 24 Michigan struggled offensively in the second half and scored just 20 points over the final 20 minutes as the Wolverines fell to 3-2 in Big 10 play with a 66-51 loss to the Illinois Fighting Illini on Wednesday night.

Michigan built a slim 31-30 lead over the first 20 minutes of action, but the Maize and Blue had no answer for Illinois' Mike Tisdale who finished with 24 points on 10-for-12 shooting from the field, 18 coming in the second half.

The Wolverines got 20 points from Manny Harris, including 3-of-5 shooting from long range, but he was the lone Wolverine to get comfortable offensively. DeShawn Sims, the Wolverines second leading scorer, finished just 3-of-14 from the floor.

Up 31-30 at the half, the Michigan struggled out of the gate in the final stanza. Tisdale single-handily outscored the Wolverines 9-3 over the first five minutes of the second half, the Maize and Blue's lone points coming on a three-point play by Harris.

Michigan cut into the lead and came within a point at 42-41 two minutes later. DeShawn Sims finished off a three-point play at the foul line and Harris scored four straight shortly after.

Illinois, again, answered though. A 9-0 run this time, including 4 of Tisdale's 24 points, put Michigan in a 50-41 hole with just 8:00 to play.

Laval Lucas-Perry ended the run with a made free throw and Harris hit a long range shot to make it 52-45 with six minutes left, but Tisdale again answered with another bunny in the paint and then his lone triple of the game.

Illinois scored its final seven points at the free throw line as the Wolverines dropped the 66-51 decision.

Michigan's biggest lead of the game came just minutes in. The Wolverines jumped on top 7-3 in the first two minutes when DeShawn Sims scored U-M's first four points and then Kelvin Grady connected from deep.

Illinois went back up 16-15 on a Demetri McCamey layup just past the halfway point of the first half. It was a short lived lead, though, as Zack Gibson put Michigan back on top on the Wolverines next possession.

The teams traded buckets over the final minutes of the first half with U-M ending up on top 31-30 at the break.

The Wolverines return home on Saturday afternoon to try and improve to 4-2 in conference play. The visiting Ohio State Buckeyes come to Ann Arbor with a scheduled tip-off of 8:00 p.m.

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