For months Sunday afternoon's game against the Indiana Hoosiers was slated to be a festive event. February 20th marked the day that one of the all-time Michigan greats, Glen Rice, would have his jersey retired from circulation. Unfortunately, the day did not start out on a positive note.
The University of Michigan announced that junior point guard Daniel Horton would be suspended for the remainder of the 2004/2005 season as a result of the domestic abuse incident he was involved in on December 10th, 2004. "As we stated all along, we understand the seriousness and sensitivity of this situation," said Michigan coach Tommy Amaker. "As with all of our decisions, we will do what we feel is right." A contrite Horton echoed his mentor's sentiments. "This has been a very difficult time, and I've learned a lot," Horton said. "I'm grateful for the chance to get back with my teammates."
When the rest of Wolverines finally hit the hardwood against Indiana, it was a sorely needed distraction. For most of the contest it looked as though would join Rice in helping to end the day on a positive note.
The Maize and Blue struck first with a basket down low from Courtney Sims, and extended that lead to four points, (7-3), on a Ronald Coleman three-pointer almost three minutes into the contest. The home team really seemed to be rolling when sophomore wing John Andrews drove to the bucket and converted an and-1 to increase the lead to five (12-7). That is when the Hoosiers responded with a long-range assault the changed the momentum of the game.
Indiana caught fire from behind the three-point arc, nailing six straight three pointers, including two straight from both AJ Ratliff and Robert Vaden, as part of an 18-7 run. The outburst gave the visitors a 25-19 advantage with 8:44 left in the half. Instead of folding, though, the Wolverines showed a little resiliency on their home court. A 12-4 run by the Maize and Blue down the stretch sent them into the locker room leading 31-30.
Coming out of the half, the Wolverines looked to pick up right where they left off. Five straight points, including a three pointer from Dion Harris, pushed the lead out to six (36-30) early in the second half. Freshman DJ White finally ended the drought for the Hoosiers, but the Wolverines kept up their attack. Two threes from Ronald Coleman in the span of a little over two minutes put Michigan up 42-35, but that is as big as their lead would get.
Bracey Wright and Errek Suhr got Indiana back on track, connecting on from behind the arc to cut into the lead. Courtney Sims did his best to hold off the comeback, notching six consecutive points for the Wolverines to help maintain a 48-43 advantage with 10:19 left, but the team from Bloomington just kept coming.
The Hoosiers continued to attack, scoring their next five points down low or at the free throw line. The visitors had cut the lead all of the way down to two points when Marshall Strickland buried a triple to give Mike Davis' club its first lead, (51-50), since late in the first half.
The two teams battled to a 57-57 tie before Dion Harris connected on 1/2 from the free throw line to give the Wolverines their final lead of the day with 4:30 to go.
Marshall Strickland hit yet another three-pointer to ignite an 8-0 run that gave the Hoosiers a 65-58 advantage with 56 seconds left on the clock. That margin proved too large for the undermanned Wolverines to overcome, as they fell to Indiana for the eighth straight time, 70-63.
The Hoosiers shot an astounding 14/19 (60.9%) from three-point land on the day. Freshman Robert Vaden led four Indiana players in double figures with a career high 18 points. Dion Harris led three Wolverines in double figures with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists. For more on the game click the following links: Boxscore, Notes, Quotes.
Michigan will attempt to prevent a record tying 11th straight loss when they take on the Penn State Nittany Lions Wednesday night at Crisler Arena.