When your team feels it needs to beat Wofford at home to prove itself, things probably aren’t going well.

But the reality is that Michigan needed to erase all memories of Monday night’s debacle in Raleigh, N.C., and squash any self-doubt that might have crept up during the week.

And to the Wolverines credit, they did just that, dominating both ends of the court in an 83-49 win at Crisler Arena Saturday afternoon.

“I thought we played the best total 40 minutes of basketball that we played all season,” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. “It was a critical moment for us to show that to ourselves, not to anyone else.”

Point guard Dion Harris turned in his best game of the season by far. The senior kept the ball flowing on the offensive end, finishing with 10 assists compared to just one turnover. He also chipped in 14 points.

Harris did all that while dealing with Wofford’s leading scorer, Shane Nichols, on defense. Harris blanketed Nichols all day long and held him to just four points on 1-for-13 shooting.

“I thought Dion was the catalyst for us,” Amaker said. “(He did a great job) defending, taking care of the ball, getting a double-double with points and assists and just being that leader on that court.”

Harris’s efforts sparked Michigan’s defense, which utilized its size advantage to keep Wofford out of the paint. This forced the Terriers (4-5) out beyond the 3-point arc where the Wolverine guards were ready to put on the pressure. Eleven of Wofford’s 17 baskets came from downtown. The Terriers attempted 31 triples on the day, with many shots coming under duress late in the shot clock.

Michigan’s defense held Wofford at less than 30 percent from the field and forced 13 turnovers. The Wolverines took advantage of long rebounds, steals and blocks to transition the other way for easy points, leading to various runs throughout the game. Leading 29-18, Michigan put together a 14-0 spurt in the final six minutes of the first half to put the Terriers away.

The Wolverines (8-1) attacked Wofford’s half-court defense on Saturday, and it paid off with layups and open jumpers. Michigan shot 62 percent from the field, thanks to good execution, not just a hot day from the field.

“The biggest key is being aggressive, not only on driving the ball but cutting as well,” Harris said. “We make hard cuts and get the ball, and we’re still aggressive as far as driving it and looking to dish it, not just looking for your own shot.”

Amaker has stated numerous time that he wants the open guy to become the go-to-guy on offense. The Wolverines took that philosophy to heart Saturday, as just two players scored in double figures (Harris and Courtney Sims, who scored a team-high 19 points), and 24 of michigan’s 34 baskets were assisted.

“We’re pretty balanced and unselfish,” Harris said. “I think we’re the most unselfish team around right now.”

Ron Coleman, Brent Petway and Jerrett Smith scored eight points apiece, while DeShawn Sims added nine.

Michigan endured a small scare late when standout freshman Ekpe Udoh hobbled off the court with less than five minutes remaining in the game. But Udoh rejoined his teammates on the bench a few minutes later and didn’t appear to be seriously hurt.

The only concern for the Wolverines on Saturday was the absence of Lester Abram in a game the team said it had to have. The captain turned the ball over five times and scored all seven of his points in the final minute of the first half.

But Harris and the rest of the Wolverines took care of business on Saturday. The next step is to do it again.

Wofford 49
Michigan 83

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