Dance Worthy?

The Michigan basketball team picked up a critical late season victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday afternoon. Will the 67-64 road win be enough to get the Wolverines into the Big Dance for the first time since the 1998 season? DeShawn Sims led U-M scorers with 25 points.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- The Wolverines didn't lead for very long, but they lead when it mattered. DeShawn Sims scored 24 points for the Maize and Blue, and U-M got 18 off the bench from Laval Lucas-Perry, including three-of-four shooting from behind the arc, as Michigan overcame an 12-point second half deficit to knock off Minnesota 67-64 and possibly punch U-M's ticket back to the Big Dance.

Manny Harris, the Wolverines leading scorer on the season, added 14 points and six assists, plus hit a late three-pointer to extend Michigan's lead to five points at 65-60 with just 2:06 left on the clock.

After Michigan jumped out to a 4-3 lead on a pair of Sims jumpers just 1:30 into the contest, the home Gophers took control of the game until Michigan's late second half run. A pair of Lawrence Westbrook free throws, plus a three-point jumper put U-M in a 14-8 hole near the middle of the first half.

Lucas-Perry kept Michigan in it, though. Off the bench Lucas-Perry connected on a pair of layups, plus a corner jumper from just inside the arc.

Westbrook, though, again put Minnesota on top 17-10. After a Sims layup, Damian Johnson and Blake Hoffarber put Minnesota up 21-12, its biggest lead of the first half.

Michigan heated up over the final six minutes though. Zack Novak, Manny Harris and Stu Douglass all connected from three-point land. Sims and Douglass each also added a pair of free throws to bring Michigan back with 29-27 with 2:11 to play.

The half eventually ended with a 35-32 Minnesota lead. DeShawn Sims and C.J. Lee scored the final five points of the half for the Wolverines with a Sims triple and a C.J. Lee steal and layup.

At the onset of the second half the Gophers continued to pound the ball into the paint and quickly re-established its double digit lead.

Jamal Abu-Shamala scored six of the Gophers first 12 points as Minnesota pulled ahead 47-37 with 14:32 to go. Damian Johnson then gave Minnesota it's biggest lead, a 49-37 advantage on their next possession.

Lucas-Perry almost single-handily pulled Michigan back into the contest over the next five minute stretch. Hitting back-to-back-to-back triples, Lucas-Perry pulled Michigan back within 56-52 with 9:26 to play. Then he added a pair of free throws to bring the Wolverines within two.

Sims tied it 58-58 two possessions later after Westbrook and Harris exchanged buckets. Then he added a pair of free throws, plus a two point jumper to give Michigan its first lead, 62-60, since early in the contest.

The teams exchanged missed buckets over the next three minutes. Harris then put Michigan up with a three-ball from the top of the circle with 2:06 to go.

Iowa would get within three points in the final seconds of the game, but a made Gophers three-pointer was waved off due to a Tubby Smith timeout and Lawrence Westbrook's desperation triple wouldn't fall as Michigan held on for the 67-64 win.

The Wolverines finish the regular season with a record of 19-12 and 9-9 in Big 10 play.

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