Wolverines cant end IU jinx
If effort guaranteed victory, Michigan might be 1-0 in Big Ten play after Tuesday night's game at Indiana. As it was, the Wolverines turned the ball over way too often, got sketchy play in the post – with one major exception – and squandered an opportunity to open the Big Ten season with a key road win, losing 70-63.
And it was a typical strange game at Assembly Hall. The Wolverines made only four of their first 21 shots, yet battled back from a 17-10 deficit to tie the game at 24 at the break. Dion Harris heated up with five straight points to cut the lead to 17-15, finishing with 19 points and six rebounds in playing all 40 minutes. Daniel Horton, who struggled in the first half, took over offensively in the second in finishing with 20 points, five assists and four steals, hitting key hoops to help the Wolverines battle back from a late nine-point deficit to make it a two-point contest with 6:03 remaining.
But Michigan's hero was Graham Brown, who finished with 21 rebounds and eight points. When he wasn't working the glass, he was keeping loose balls alive for second and third opportunities. The senior, who wasn't even sure he'd play two days ago after nursing a sore knee, provided one of the gutsiest efforts in recent memory with his play underneath on both ends of the floor.
Still, it wasn't enough. Michigan was reckless with the ball in the first half, turning it over 12 times on the way to 22 for the game. Courtney Sims finished with as many turnovers as points – five -- while Horton threw it away six times. Sims managed just one rebound in 19 minutes, spending most of the game in foul trouble, while Chris Hunter struggled to four points and three turnovers in his 18 minutes.
"It is tough," Tommy Amaker said. "You can look at that in a number of different ways. Obviously you're dissapointed in that (turnover) stat, but we weren't taking advantage of our opportunities ... we had 22 turnovers and you can't expect to beat anyone turning the ball over 22 times."
Jevohn Shepherd, playing in place of an injured Lester Abram, made just one of seven field goal attempts, while Brent Petway showed some rust in his return, picking up three fouls in eight minutes. Ron Coleman finished 0-for-3 from the floor for the Wolverines.
Despite it all, Michigan had a chance to steal it before the Hoosiers heated up. Wolverine killer Robert Vaden scored 17 on 7-of-10 shooting and big man Marco Killingsworth added 15 and six boards, working inside for his points. IU went to the line 25 times to Michigan's five, making 16, and won despite being outrebounded 42-29.
"It certainly was (ours for the taking)," said Amaker. "I thought that it was a game that was see-sawing back and forth with runs and each team answered as another team made a run ... [but] it was very deflating."