ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- John Beilein’s Wolverines hit the ground running Saturday evening as freshman Evan Smotrycz opened up the scoring with a three-pointer. Unfortunately for the Wolverines the marksmanship would wane a considerably after that.
The two teams traded leads before knotting the score at 16 with 9:40 remaining. A 13-7 UTEP run subsequently put the Wolverines in six point hole when sophomore point guard Darius Morris responded with a layup and a jumper to get back within two. Freshman Jordan Morgan then closed out the first half scoring with two free throws to send the teams into the intermission tied at 29.
When the squads emerged from the locker room it was all UTEP. The Miners opened up the second half with a 19-4 run to make the score 48-33 at the 9:51 mark. The young Wolverines would never recover. Despite 14 second half points from Morris, the Michigan fell 65-56.
On the night Morris led the Wolverines with 20 points and four assists, and three steals, while Zack Novak chipped in with 10 points and five boards. Michigan ended the game having shot 16/53 (30.2%) from the field and 5/29 (17.2%) from three point range. UTEP’s Randy Culpepper, one of eight Miner seniors, led all scorers with 24 points. For more on the game click the following links: Boxscore, Notes.
Next up for the Maize & Blue is a Tuesday night match up with the Clemson Tigers as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Tipoff is scheduled for 9pm on ESPN2.