CHAMPAIGN – Freshman Manny Harris scored a career-low five points in last night, but he said his poor play had more to do with a hurt foot than a stifling defense.

Harris showed no signs of discomfort in the first half, but went straight to the bench before warm-ups at halftime. When Michigan coach John Beilein asked what was wrong, Harris pointed to his right foot. Despite receiving attention from the team’s trainer, Harris continued to tread lightly during the final moments of warm ups.

After going 2-for-4 in the first half, Harris went 0-for-3 in the second. Even with the injury, the Detroit native still played the most minutes on the team (33).

Even when playing at full strength, Harris struggled to find open shots against the Illini defense. The Illini defense focused on Harris, including rotating Chester Frazier and Brian Randle to defend him. The duo effectively cut off lanes to the basket, forcing the freshman to pass.

Illinois coach Bruce Weber told his big men to step up on Harris’s curls and the rest of his team to try to slow him down in transition.The strategy worked as Michigan didn’t score on the fast break.

THE SIXTH MEN: After a flat 10 minutes of play, Michigan coach John Beilein needed a spark from his bench. He got an explosion.

Trailing 17-5, redshirt freshman Anthony Wright rattled off back-to-back triples. Then senior David Merritt made two 3-pointers of his own to tie the game at 17.

In less than four minutes, the two players, who average two points per game combined, had led a 16-2 Michigan run.

“If (the energy) is low, you want to bring it up,” Merritt said. “That’s the mindset – to bring a lot of energy, play good defense and hit the open shot when it’s there.”

Merritt and Wright had help from the bench. Michigan got 28 points from non-starters.

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