“Healthy, happy and hungry.”
Michigan men’s basketball coach Tommy Amaker guaranteed the fans at Crisler Arena after Saturday’s Maize and Blue scrimmage that his team would aspire towards those three goals in the upcoming season.
After a single 20-minute period, the Maize needed a three-minute overtime to edge the Blue 53-50.
Dividing the Michigan roster into the two squads, the Blue started seniors Daniel Horton and Chris Hunter, junior Courtney Sims, sophomore Ron Coleman and freshman Jevohn Shepherd while senior Graham Brown, juniors Dion Harris, Lester Abram and Brent Petway and freshman Jerret Smith took the court first for the Maize.
The Blue used defensive pressure to notch the first two points of game.
After Hunter stole the ball on a trap at the top of the key, he raced down the sideline and saw Shepherd streaking to the basket on the opposite side. Hunter lobbed an alley-oop to Shepherd, but the freshman wasn’t able to control the ball and missed the layup. Hustling after the ball, Shepherd stole it back and dished it to Sims, who put in a fadeaway jumper from the baseline.
Unfazed by the early flurry of defensive aggressiveness, the Maize quickly took the lead. Harris drove to the foul line and bounced a pass around a defender to a wide-open Lester Abrams who drained the three pointer to give the Maize the advantage – much to the crowd’s pleasure.
“It felt really good (to get back in front of the crowd),” Abrams said. “I missed it a lot last year, and I can’t wait for the first game this year so that I can see the real crowd that’s going to be here. I don’t know how I’m going to feel that day, but I just can’t wait for it to come.”
As the game progressed into the late stages, the score remained close with each team playing stout defense while attempting to gain the advantage.
With just under 10 seconds left on the clock, Brown scored on a bank shot from the left block to give the Maize a two-point lead. Quickly inbounding the ball, Horton dribbled down the court, pulling up at the top of the key to take a three to win the game. As the senior shot, Petway bumped him and the referee called the foul, providing Horton with a chance to end the game with three shots from the line.
After making the first, Horton flicked up the second shot, and the ball rolled around and out of the basket. Clapping his hands together in disgust, Horton refocused and converted the last free throw attempt to tie the game at 41.
In the extra session, Abram started the Maize attack. Jumping in front of a pass to the wing, the junior pushed the ball up the court and passed to Harris who was fouled going up for a layup. The junior drained both foul shots, notching a two-point lead for the Maize.
The highlight play of the overtime period came when Harris drove the ball to the middle of the key. While looking at the corner, he threw a no-look pass to Petway