Hoosiers Down Michigan
March 3, 2004
Bloomington, Ind.- On the strength of solid guard play and a strong second-half defensive effort, the Indiana men's basketball team snapped a four-game losing skid and a four-game home losing streak with a 61-56 win over Michigan. The Hoosiers evened their record at 13-13 with the win and now sit at 7-8 in the Big Ten. Michigan falls to 16-10 overall and even with IU in the conference at 7-8.
Sophomore guard Marshall Strickland turned in a career performance as he led the Hoosiers with 21 points. He played a critical part of the Hoosiers second-half effort as he hit four three-pointers and five for the game. He also had four assists with zero turnovers and one steal. Fellow classmate Bracey Wright chipped in 14 points, including 3-of-5 from behind the three-point arc. Wright broke out of a slump from three-point land as he was 1-of-16 in his last three games.
The senior duo of A.J. Moye and George Leach turned in solid efforts as well. Moye was strong for the Hoosiers in the paint, posting a game-high and career-high 15 rebounds, despite battling with Michigan's 6-11 duo of Courtney Sims and Chris Hunter. Leach equaled a career high as well, blocking seven shots for the third time in his career.
After Wright hit the front end of two free throws to give IU the lead, 56-54 with just under three minutes remaining, Bernard Robinson, Jr. evened the game for Michigan with his first bucket. Robinson hit a leaner in the lane with 1:48 remaining to even the it at 56. It was Robinson's only basket of the game as the Hoosiers held U-M's second-leading scorer to 1-of-9 from the field.
After a Hoosier timeout, Strickland was fouled on a drive to the basket by Lester Abram. The Winfield, Md., native added both free throws to give IU the lead again at 58-56. The Hoosiers defense forced a U-M turnover as Michigan freshman Brent Petway step on the baseline to give Indiana the ball back with under a minute remaining.
With the shot clock running down, Strickland's floater from the left side of the lane hit the back of the iron, but Wright was there to tip the rebound. Petway punched the ball toward the center court line into the waiting arms of Donald Perry. Perry was then fouled and hit the second of two from the charity stripe to give IU a three-point lead, 59-56.
Sophomore guard Daniel Horton, who had hit four three-pointers on the night, attempted to tie the game with a three from the right wing. The shot hit off the back of the rim, and Wright was there for the rebound. The Colony, Texas, native could not ice the game though after being fouled. He missed both free throws that would have put the game away.
The Wolverines once again came down the floor with a chance to tie, but came up short as Robinson, Jr.'s three-point attempt from the right side came up short. Sims garnered the rebound, but Leach swatted the shot away, grabbed the defensive board and was fouled. He iced the game with two free throws to give the Hoosiers a 61-56 win.
The Hoosiers' defense was vital in the second half, holding Michigan to 29.2 percent from the field and only 25 percent from behind the arc. Down the stretch, Michigan was only 2-of-11 from the field, including 0-of-4 from three-point range. IU also held Michigan at bay on the boards, out-rebounding the Wolverines 37-29.
Michigan sophomore guards Lester Abrams and Daniel Horton kept the Wolverines afloat in the early going. The pair scored 17 of Michigan's first 19 points. Abrams scored 11, while Horton added a pair of long three-pointers. With Indiana leading 13-10, Abrams drove the baseline, drew the foul and hit the lay up. He then added the free throw to knot the game at 13. The three-point play started a run of nine-straight Wolverine points for Abram that kept Michigan within striking distance of the Hoosiers.
IU opened its biggest lead at 23-17 with 9:00 remaining in the first half. The Hoosiers put together an 8-2 run with the score tied at 15. After a free throw by Ewing, Strickland nailed a three from the top key to push the advantage to four. Wright was fouled by Bernard Robinson, Jr. at the top of the key and converted two of the three free-throw attempts. He missed the third and final attempt, but senior forward A.J. Moye was there for the rebound and put back to extend the lead out to 23-17.
After Michigan drew within one on the heels of two Sims' buckets, the Hoosiers once again pushed the lead to five, scoring the game's next four points. Following a pair of George Leach free throws, Strickland picked the pocket of Robinson and scored on a driving lay up. Chris Hunter then took over for the Wolverines in the final 3:30 minutes. The Gary, Ind, native scored six of U-M's final eight points. Hunter's run helped the Wolverines even up the game at 31 before the halftime horn.
Strickland opened the second half of play nailing a three-pointer from the right wing to give IU a 34-31 lead. The Wolverines would go on a 10-2 run over the next 4:30 to take its largest lead at 41-36.
Strickland hit three-pointers on back-to-back Hoosier possessions to draw IU back within one point at 43-42. Following a Petway lay up for Michigan, the duo of Strickland and Wright each hit from behind the three-point to allow the Hoosiers to regain the lead at 50-47.
A Pettway lay up and Abram free throw tied the game up at 50 for Michigan with 5:52 remaining, but Wright was again on the spot to give IU the lead. With Bernard Robinson, Jr. in his face, Wright hit a three from the right wing to put the Hoosiers back on top by three. Sims drew the Wolverines within two after making the front end of a pair of free throws. His second attempt was off the mark and Wright was fouled by Hunter on the rebound. Wright sunk both freebies to give IU a two-possession lead at 55-51.
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