With a little more than 10 minutes remaining in the first half, and Michigan off to a sluggish start against Delaware State, senior Dion Harris dribbled down the floor and pulled up for a medium-range jump-shot.
The attempt clanked off the back of the rim, but caromed just perfectly for senior Brent Petway.
And he did what he does best: slammed it home with authority.
The dunk sent the Crisler Arena crowd into a frenzy and helped propel the Wolverines to a 70-43 thumping of the Hornets.
Lost in the crowd’s “Air Georgia” chants was the rebound that made the jam possible. Petway notched his third double-double of the season, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 boards.
But it isn’t just Petway who has been a menace on the glass lately.
The Wolverines have outrebounded their opponents by nearly 10 rebounds per game for the season. On Saturday, Michigan more than doubled the Hornets’ rebounding total, 35-17.
“(Rebounding) has been a staple of our identity,” Petway said. “We want to hold teams to one shot, and we want to get extra shots on the offensive end.”
Rebounding hasn’t come so easily for the Wolverines in the past. Last year, just one Wolverine (then-senior Graham Brown) averaged more than seven rebounds per game. Through 11 games this season, both Petway and senior Courtney Sims are averaging more than seven boards per contest.
The coaching staff has encouraged the big men to hit the glass all season. Ultimately, the coaches would like double-doubles to become common occurrences for each of the team’s post players.
It helps having long and lanky players like 6-foot-11 Sims and 6-foot-10 freshman Ekpe Udoh. Against the Hornets, Udoh had his most impressive rebounding totals of the 2006 campaign, grabbing eight rebounds while playing just 21 minutes.
“My arms help me a lot,” Udoh said. “I can be on one side of the lane and still get the ball if it falls on the other side of lane.”
Throughout Saturday’s contest, it was clear who was the more skilled team. But the effort on the boards indicated that the Wolverines also outworked the Hornets.
“We know we have to be hungrier and hustle more than the teams we play,” Petway said. “And rebounding is where you can show you are winning the hustle battle.”
I am Courtney, hear me roar: Just two minutes into the second half, the Wolverines picked up their first technical foul of the season.
Who the technical was given to was surprising.
Going for a loose ball, Sims and Delaware State senior Troy Roundtree got tangled up on the baseline. Sims threw an elbow trying to wrestle the ball free and received a technical for his actions.
The normally reserved senior’s outburst was a welcome surprise for the Crisler Arena crowd, who cheered loudly when Sims went to the bench following the scuffle.
“It was kind of funny because they never see me show emotion,” Sims said. “I just felt he was fouling me and the refs weren’t calling it. So I was trying to get him off me somehow and threw the elbow.”
Sims’s teammates were pleasantly surprised to see their leading scorer getting more emotionally involved in the game. Senior guard Dion Harris, Sims’s roommate, said he doesn’t ordinarily see the forward get so riled up during a game, but that it was a welcome surprise, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker even cracked a smile as Sims walked away from the fracas. But he made sure to warn his big man about the consequences of getting a technical foul.
“I’m not advocating getting a technical,” Amaker said. “But that’s something that is going to happen in the course of a basketball game. . It was nice to see his passion, and I’m hopeful that we will continue to have that.”
Braylon disses the Bowl Championships Series: Although he now plays for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, former Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards still feels the need to stick up for his alma mater.
Sitting courtside at Saturday’s game, Edwards offered his opinion on the BCS and the controversy surrounding which team – Michigan or Florida – should be facing Ohio State in the BCS National Championship game.
“It’s bullshit,” Edwards said. “Until the BCS gets a playoff system, the BCS will always be a joke. I just don’t agree with the whole make-up of it. I think over half the population of the country would agree with me that it doesn’t work.” . “I believe Michigan is the best team in the country with the exception of Ohio State.”