DURHAM, N.C. – Coming in to Saturday’s game against Duke, Michigan forward Chuck Bailey was averaging just over nine minutes per contest this season, but against the Blue Devils, Bailey logged 20 valuable minutes.
Bailey had a season-high 11 points against Duke on 5-for-6 shooting. But as important as the minutes and points Bailey provided were, he also provided a spark off the bench for the Wolverines.
Michigan freshman Graham Brown started at center for the Wolverines and was another emotional leader against the Blue Devils. Brown dropped in eight points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.
“I thought Chuck gave us a lot of energy,” coach Tommy Amaker said. “I was really pleased with Chuck and Graham. I thought both those kids competed and played very hard. They stayed within themselves. Sometimes it is very difficult to do that in this type of environment, where you can easily come unglued at the seams. That is something we were very concerned about – if we could keep things in a semblance of order. And I thought those kids, more than anybody else on our team, were doing that the best.”
Bailey shined for the Wolverines, thanks, in part, to his energy. All season long, Bailey has provided energy from the bench, and against Duke, it was no different.
“I just came in with the appetite that ‘we just got to go at these guys and get a good start’,” Bailey said. “We came in with a lot of confidence, a lot of poise and patience.
“I just try to be the spark off the bench or in the starting lineup to give our team energy. That way we can get rolling.”
Troublesome fouls: Part of the reason Bailey got off the bench early was because Michigan freshman Lester Abram picked up a pair of fouls in the game’s opening minutes. The talented swingman could do nothing but watch for most of the first half as the Wolverines fell behind.
“That was real frustrating, because I know I could have been out there helping my team,” Abram said. “It was frustrating being on the bench with two quick, quick fouls.”
Michigan had problems with fouls in the first half, as all of its starters picked up at least two fouls and point guard Daniel Horton collected three on his own. This pressured the Wolverines in to playing walk-on Sherrod Harrell at the point, but more often than not it was junior Bernard Robinson who brought up the ball. The loss of Horton led to several of the Wolverines’ 19 turnovers in the first half. Amaker said Duke’s quickness, especially on the perimeter, and Michigan’s foul trouble, dug itself a hole the Wolverines could not get out of.
“For us, the most difficult part was trying to take care of the basketball,” Amaker said. “We had foul trouble with our point guard, Daniel Horton, and that really put us in a bind right away.”