Michigan was up to the challenge at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Unfortunately the upset bid fell a bit short as the #1 ranked Connecticut Huskies hung on for a 69-61 win.
The Huskies opened the game with a 8-1 run and perhaps many thought they rout was just beginning. However, Michigan battled hard and capped a 9-0 run when Anthony Wright drained a triple with about 4 minutes left in the half. Stu Douglass scored 11 first half points and Michigan took a 1 point lead into the locker room 34-33.
Michigan continued to control the game for the first 6 minutes of the second half. Zack Novak scored 5 points in that stretch and Michigan led 43-39 when Jim Calhoun called a timeout with 14:08 left in the game. During the next 6 minutes after the time out Connecticut seized control of the game with an 18-4 run. That run put the Huskies up 57-47 with 7:26 to play. Manny Harris and Stu Douglass each knocked down a big three to pull Michigan within striking distance with the score 57-53 with about 5 minutes left in the game. During the next two minute span DeShawn Sims and Manny Harris each missed a three with Michigan trailing 57-53. Those were two chances to really tighten the game up and Michigan came up empty. Stu Douglass kept things interesting by drilling two triple in the last 90 seconds of the game. Connecticut made their free throws and held on for a 69-61 win.
Douglass led Michigan with a career high 20 points including 6-8 on three pointers. Manny Harris chipped in 15 points.
Inside the numbers: Michigan played very well in a hostile environment and only turned the ball over 9 times. Meanwhile they forced Connecticut into 17 turnovers. As expected the Huskies mauled Michigan on the boards 46-21. Connecticut shot 25 free throws and Michigan only made 12 trips to the line.
The road to 21 wins: It would have been a tremendous win had they been able to pull this out. However, I think a lot of good will come from this game. It should give the coaches plenty of positives to build on for the stretch run in the Big Ten. Next up Michigan plays host to Michigan State on Tuesday. Then they will have 4 days off before playing at Northwestern next Sunday.