Hitting his second 3-pointer of the game and cutting the
Michigan lead to 9-8, guard Junie Sanders turned to the Maize Rage
with his finger to his mouth telling them to be quiet.
Little did he know that it would soon be his squad that would go
quiet — real quiet.
The Wolverines would go on a 25-2 run en route to a 90-57
thrashing of the Fayetteville Patriots from the National Basketball
Development League, the NBA’s minor league.
After a sub-par first half against Michigan Tech a week ago,
Michigan was on a mission, creating 22 turnovers and fighting for
rebounds against a more physically imposing professional team. The
Wolverines swatted numerous Fayetteville passes, leading to easy
baskets, highlighted by freshman Brent Petway’s electrifying
windmill dunk off a telegraphed backcourt pass, his first of five
dunks on the evening.
“We had some glimpses of this up in Toronto,” coach
Tommy Amaker said. “Certainly it was nice to see us regain
that form and that energy level to make into the kind of game we
want to play, which is full court, 94-feet and using our
By the end of the first half, the Patriots who had played
significant minutes, including former Georgia Tech star Jason
Collier, looked befuddled by the Michigan 2-3 and 2-1-2 zones. At
times, the Wolverines were showing more intensity just standing in
the zone waiting for a pass to be made than the Patriots had in
their offense all together. During Michigan’s first-half run,
Fayetteville went nine minutes and 23 seconds without a field
“We were disappointed by the way we played team defense
(against Michigan Tech),” said freshman forward Courtney
Sims, who finished with 10 points and six rebounds. “We
focused on that at practice this whole week.”
Leading the charge was senior forward Bernard Robinson, who had
a stellar evening on both sides of the floor with 18 points, five
rebounds, five assists and five steals.
“I thought tonight (Bernard Robinson) played as good as
any player can play,” Amaker said.
Robinson had his mid-range jumper in mid-season form as he
finished 8-for-13 from the field. In addition to his shooting and
play on defense, he assisted Petway from almost the half court line
for an alley-oop slam.
“I felt good out there,” Robinson said. “The
team did a good job getting everyone in the flow early in the game,
and that really opened up some things for us.”
Unlike the Michigan Tech game, which starred guards Daniel
Horton and Dion Harris, the Wolverines’ frontcourt blossomed
against a team that had four seven-footers. While Michigan shot a
poor 2-for-10 from behind the arc, the frontline held strong
despite playing without Graham Brown for the second straight game.
Sophomore forward Chris Hunter narrowly missed a double-double with
nine points and nine rebounds, and the Wolverines outrebounded the
“I think we came out with more intensity,” Hunter
said. “We were more focused. I think we executed our gameplan
well, trying to keep those guys off the glass and keep balls alive
on the offensive glass.”
The game finishes off the Wolverines’ long preseason which
started with two weeks of extra practice before a three-game
exhibition tour in Toronto in addition to a regular pre season
schedule. The regular season begins Friday at Crisler Arena against