In a continuation of the story of the 2009-10 season, Michigan dropped yet another contest that was tightly contested until the final whistle. This time it was the Illini who trumped the Wolverines, 51-44.
Michigan started the game with promise as their attacking defense forced the Illini into a shot clock violation on their first possession of the game, and promptly jumped out of the gate with a Zack Novak three ball.
After Michigan took at 3-0 lead to start the game, Illinois went on a 9-0 run to jump out to an early 9-3 lead. The Fighting Illini's run was helped due to the Wolverines ice cold shooting from the field as they started 1-10 from the field, their only field goal being Novak's first three ball of the game.
For as bad as Michigan's shooting was, their stout first half defense kept them in contention within the first half. The Illini were held to only 45% from the field on 10-22 shots and only sunk 50% of their 6 attempted field goals.
Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis were the leading performers in the first half for Illinois, combining for 14 points, 8 boards and 2 assists between the two. It proved to be a duo that the Wolverines had trouble containing throughout the rest of the game.
As the two teams headed into halftime, the Illinois had not necessarily raced, but more more crawled to an 8 point, 26-18 lead.
The Wolverines found their spark at the start of the second half, starting off with a 7-0 run to pull within one of Illinois.
The lead changed several times over the next few minutes and the Illini held a 4 point lead at 34-30 with 12:00 minutes left in the second stanza. Manny Harris lead the spark with 6 points and 2 boards to start the second half.
McCamey and Davis again took over for the next 4 minutes, combining for 7 points and jumping out to a 41-33 lead.
The Wolverines and Illini traded baskets from there out, with the Wolverines pulling the deficit to 4 points at the 2:40 mark, 44-40. Illinois followed the Wolverines mini-run with a 30 second timeout.
The Illini then went into shutdown mode as the Maize and Blue found it impossible to find the bottom of the net. Despite a few last desperation shots, the Illini calmly spent the last moments at the line, and finishing off the Wolverines, 51-44.
Manny Harris and Zack Novak pacd the Wolverines with 15 and 12 points respectively as DeShawn Sims had another quiet night.
The loss drops the Wolverines to 13-14 overall 6-9 in Big Ten play. The Wolverines finish the regular season with bouts on the road against Ohio State and Michigan State, and have Minnesota for their home finale.
Wolverines Drop Yet Another Close Game
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