BY IAN ROBINSON
Published February 22, 2008
Michigan might have gotten complacent.
The Wolverines, earlier in the season, dominated the Wildcats in Evanston and entered last night's game having won four-of-five games.
Northwestern might have been due.
The Wildcats were coming off one-possession losses to Iowa and Indiana.
Either way, last night's sparsely attended affair at Crisler Arena ended with Northwestern on the winning side of the ledger for the first time in the Big Ten season, 62-60.
A 3-pointer by redshirt freshman Anthony Wright clanked off the rim with four seconds left, eliminating the Wolverines' (5-11 Big Ten, 9-19 overall) hope to avoid the upset.
It had been a Craig Moore 3-pointer less than a minute earlier that put the Wildcats on top for good. It was the Northwestern junior's final 3-pointer, but he had been doing it all night long. He finished 8-for-12 from beyond the arc.
"I felt like any shot I put up was going to go in," said Moore, who finished with a game-high 25 points.
Four Moore triples in the first three minutes helped the Wildcats (1-14, 7-18) an early 16-2 lead.
With five minutes remaining in the first half, Northwestern led by 19 points - a deficit Michigan has not overcome this season. But over the next 20 minutes, the Wolverines slowly chipped away.
The biggest chunk came when Michigan coach John Beilein decided, five minutes into the second half, to replace struggling freshman point guard Kelvin Grady with C.J. Lee. With Lee at the helm, Michigan immediately went on a 9-2 run.
He directed the team, came up with some key steals and hit three big 3-pointer to bring his team back into the game. Aside from brief rest late in the game, Lee played for the final 15 minutes.
After tying the game on a Wright jumper with fewer than six minutes remaining, the Wolverines finally took the lead with just over a minute remaining.
Freshman Manny Harris, who paced Michigan with 17 points, made the second of two free throws to give his team the lead. On the next possession, Moore hit the go-ahead 3-pointer.
Even though Moore might have shot the lights out last night, Beilein and his players said this game wouldn't define their season.
As they said after the game.
"The sun will rise tomorrow."