It looked as if the Michigan men’s basketball team might have a shot at its first win in 10 games. As the seconds wound down, freshman Ron Coleman shot up an airball, and the crowd let out a collective sigh. But then, junior Graham Brown heaved himself over the rest of the players, snatched the ball out of the air and nailed a quick layup. With 14 seconds to go, Michigan was down by just three to Indiana.
Redemption was in sight.
But within the final 14 seconds, Hoosiers’ guards Marshall Strickland and Bracey Wright hit all four of their free throws, putting the nail in the coffin with a final score of 70-63.
Michigan (3-10 Big Ten, 12-15 overall) kept up with Indiana (7-5, 12-11) primarily through its balanced scoring, which had been missing from its repertoire in recent weeks.
“Guys are always ready to jump into the role whenever it happens,” Brown said. “It’s something we all work on, and it’s something that we’re ready for. It just takes the situation that we need to be in.”
Coleman and sophomore Courtney Sims each put up 12 points, while sophomore Dion Harris contributed 15. Each surpassed his season scoring average.
Despite significant production from several players, the Wolverines could not top Indiana’s hot shooting from outside the arc. The Hoosiers shot a remarkable 64.3 percent from 3-point land, and, by the end of the first half, 27 of the Hoosiers’ 30 points were a result of accurate shots from downtown. By the end of the game, Indiana had hit 14 triples.
“Their ability to shoot the 3-point shot was key,” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. “It is the reason, I believe, that they were able to win the ballgame. We couldn’t keep them from knocking those shots down.”
One of Indiana’s sharpest long shooters was Errek Suhr. Suhr shot 3-for-4 from outside, a career high for the guard. These were his only points on the afternoon.
“Nothing against (Suhr), but we certainly had other players ahead of him in terms of the scouting report,” Amaker said.
Michigan led by one at halftime and hit the ground running at the beginning of the second frame. The Wolverines got a quick seven points — culminating in a 3-pointer from Coleman — in the first 5:16 minutes, which put them up by seven, their largest lead of the game.
Indiana fought back with balanced scoring of its own — each of the Hoosiers’ next 15 points were scored by different people. After struggling from behind for nearly 11 minutes, Indiana gained the upper hand for the first time in the half. After three quick lead changes, the Hoosiers managed to come out ahead.
But in the end, it was turnovers — which have been the bane of the Wolverines’ existence throughout the losing streak — that put the win out of reach. Indiana’s D.J. White hit a jumper off of a turnover, and just over a minute later, A.J. Ratliff hit a free throw after forcing another turnover and drawing a foul.
The Wolverines did, however, maintain their energy throughout the entirety of the game — something they have had trouble with in recent weeks. This effort was evidenced by the four offensive rebounds they grabbed in the last minute of the game.
“I felt that they put it all on the line, and that they played with a lot of heart and a lot of passion,” Amaker said.
Michigan standout Daniel Horton was suspended on Saturday for the remainder of the season after pleading guilty to assault charges on Monday.