With Michigan holding a 56-53 lead with 38 seconds left Friday against Eastern Washington, Eagle guard Adris DeLeon tried to cut into Michigan’s slim lead.
But his jump shot ran into a familiar barrier – sophomore forward Ekpe Udoh.
Freshman Manny Harris picked up the loose ball, was fouled and hit two free throws, allowing Michigan to seal the win.
It was Udoh’s fifth block of the game. He swatted 11 shots on the weekend.
After injuring his knee before the season, Udoh has started to look more comfortable on the court.
When starting center Zack Gibson found himself in early foul trouble against Butler, Udoh came off the bench and played 32 minutes, matching a career-high mark set last season. He followed that performance by playing 27 minutes against Eastern Washington.
Udoh averaged more than six points and four rebounds per game this weekend.
Just six games into his sophomore season, Udoh is six blocks from joining the program’s top 10 career leaders in that category.
Leading by example: The outcome of Michigan’s first four games this season had been decided before the final few minutes.
The young team hadn’t yet faced game-deciding free throws.
In Friday’s game against Eastern Washington, the outcome was still up in the air in the final minutes.
Upperclassmen Jerret Smith and Ron Coleman showed leadership by hitting a combined five free throws in the final minutes.
Ahead by two with less than two minutes remaining, Coleman knocked down two free throws to extend the Michigan lead.
After Eastern Washington hit a 3-pointer to cut the Wolverines’ lead to just one, Smith stepped up to the line and hit both his free throws to put the Wolverines up three.
Freshman Manny Harris hit four free throws in the final minute to ice the game and finish with a game-high 19.
Ron racks up points: Five points.
That’s Coleman’s total in the Wolverines’ first three games.
He scored eight in the first half against Butler Wednesday night and kept up that production all weekend.
Coleman reached double figures in each game, averaging 12 points and six rebounds per game, including 3-for-4 3-point shooting in the loss to Butler.