On a day it honored former All-American Phil Hubbard for his
dedication, the Michigan basketball team showed some of its
own.

Kate Green
RYAN WEINER/Daily
Indiana guard Donald Perry drives to the basket and over Michigan center Graham Brown while the Maize Rage and sophomore guard Daniel Horton look on.

But it was 25 minutes too late.

Coming back from a 16-point second-half deficit, Michigan had
the ball with numerous opportunities to win or tie the game in the
final minute, but was unable to capitalize in a 59-57 loss to
Indiana.

Despite scoring just 19 points in the first half, the Wolverines
got to within two after sophomore guard Daniel Horton drove the
lane and scored with 54 seconds remaining. Following a defensive
stop, Horton missed a 3-pointer from the corner, but Lester Abram
recovered the rebound and called a timeout.

Abram then drove the baseline and had his shot blocked by
forward Sean Kline, but the ball rolled out of bounds, giving
Michigan possession. The inbound pass was then tied up, resulting
in a jump-ball situation. The Wolverines had the possession arrow,
giving them one last chance. But senior forward Bernard
Robinson’s jumper in the lane hit the front of the rim in the
final seconds.

“I think it was a good shot,” said Robinson, who led
the team with 16 points. “It didn’t drop.”

The loss kills Michigan’s (1-1 Big Ten, 10-3 overall)
chances of gaining momentum to start the conference season. The
Wolverines play six of their next eight games on the road,
including a trip to Michigan State next Saturday and games against
co-conference leaders Wisconsin and Penn State the following
week.

“We had an opportunity to put ourselves in a great
position,” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. “I’m
disappointed that we can’t seem to understand
that.”

The Wolverines got themselves into an early hole early with
their worst offensive half of the season. Their 9-for-32 shooting
performance in the first half was 10 percent worse than any other
first half they have had, putting them down 29-19 at halftime.
Michigan had just four points from its interior players and missed
an array of jump shots. Horton, last season’s Big Ten
Freshman of the Year, continued his shooting woes by failing to hit
a field goal until there was 7:27 remaining in the game.

The Wolverines’ stellar interior defense in the
game’s first 15 minutes kept them in the contest, especially
by holding center George Leach, who was coming back after knee
surgery, in check. But the Hoosiers were able to penetrate towards
the basket starting at the end of the first half, extending their
lead to 41-25 with 15:19 to go. Michigan then made a quick run to
cutting the deficit to nine with 11:21 left after it started to
look inside more offensively.

“We have a taller team than they have, and we better
low-post players, I think,” Abram said. “We just
didn’t utilize that (in the first half).”

Michigan then played strong down the stretch, but Indiana (1-1
Big Ten, 7-6 overall) found ways to counter the Wolverine attack,
headlined by the immergence of Kline on the inside. A 3-pointer by
freshman Dion Harris with 3:38 to go cut the Indiana lead to five,
leaving Michigan to ponder what could have been.

“If we came out with that same intensity and that same
fire in the first half, we would not have been down by that
much,” said sophomore center Chris Hunter, who played seven
minutes in his first game back after knee surgery in early
December.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *