Michigan 71, Minnesota 55
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Daniel Horton scored a career-high 32 points, including six 3-pointers, to spark Michigan in a 71-55 victory over slumping Minnesota on Saturday night.
Dion Harris added 16 points, 13 in the second half, to help the Wolverines (13-3, 3-2 Big Ten) finish off the Gophers, who struggled to move the ball and score again while facing a zone defense.
Moe Hargrow had 16 points, Spencer Tollackson scored 13 points, and J’son Stamper had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Minnesota (9-7, 0-5), which committed 19 turnovers and shot only 38 percent from the field.
Michigan will bring some momentum into Wednesday’s game against rival Michigan State, ranked No. 11 in this week’s Associated Press poll, after easily outplaying the Gophers and holding their star, Vince Grier, to a career-low four points on 1-for-8 shooting.
Streaky Courtney Sims, who was averaging 14 points per game, was held scoreless and another starter, Lester Abram, left early in the second half with an apparent injury to his left ankle. But Horton and Harris did enough damage by themselves to keep the Wolverines from ever worrying about the outcome.
With four seniors among their top eight returners, the Gophers were in position to at least stay competitive in the Big Ten—coming off a 21-11 record and their only NCAA tournament invitation in coach Dan Monson’s seven seasons. But an ugly defeat at home to Northwestern started their conference schedule off on a sour note, and then came a 17-point loss at lowly Purdue sandwiched between narrow defeats to ranked teams Wisconsin and Iowa.
Short on confidence, depth and offensive rhythm, Minnesota fell behind 19-9 early after Michigan went on a 10-0 run. The lead was only four in the early stages of the second half, but the Gophers never showed the spunk they needed to take over.
On the first possession following a timeout less than five minutes into the second half, Hargrow swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key to get the Gophers within 42-29. But Horton immediately answered with a 3-pointer of his own on the other end to bump the lead back to 16.
Brent Petway, a junior with a vertical jump of nearly 42 inches, according to the Wolverines, caught an alley-oop from Jerret Smith a little later to give his team its biggest advantage, 47-30.
Minnesota wiggled its way back into the game and came within seven, 51-44, but Grier rushed an awkward-looking 3-pointer that bounced hard off the backboard and Michigan slowly stretched the lead back to double digits. A little later, Harris made a 3-pointer, the Gophers quickly turned the ball over and suddenly Horton was racing the other way for a finger-roll layup off the glass to put the Wolverines up 64-48.
Grier was given a plaque, and a hearty cheer from the crowd of 13,112, before the game for his participation on the U.S. team that won a gold medal at the World University Games this past summer.