Led by 13 first half points from senior forward LaVell Blanchard, and due to cold shooting by Illinois (partially caused by great Wolverine defense), Michigan ran out to a 33-28 half time lead. They extended it in the second half to 45-35 at the 13 minute mark. And then the wheels started coming off. Freshman center Graham Brown fouled out with 8:45 to go, and fellow-frosh center Chris Hunter played the rest of the game with four fouls -- allowing Illinois star power forward Brian Cook to go on a tear, scoring 17 of his game-leading 30 points in the final nine minutes.
The turning point in the game came at when Brown fouled out. The Wolverines were still clinging to a six-point lead, 47-41, but Michigan's junior forward Bernard Robinson compounded with Brown foul with a technical foul. Illinois' Cook made four free throws. Thirty seconds later, Illinois took the lead and never relinquished it.
Blanchard led Michigan with 18 points and six rebounds. Michigan's freshmen centers both played well, with Chris Hunter recording 11 points and 10 rebounds and Graham Brown adding ten points. Freshman guard Daniel Horton struggled with his shooting touch after getting poked in the eye, finishing with only seven points on 3-for-17 shooting.
Michigan is now tied for the Big Ten lead with a 6-1 mark, and plays their next game Saturday afternoon at 2:30 PM. After that the Wolverines travel to Minnesota, Iowa and Indiana.
(AP Photo/Heather Coit)
Wolverines' Streak Ends, 67-60
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