Michigan Shocks UCLA: To Face Duke

    
November 21st, 2008

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team knocked off fourth-ranked UCLA, 55-52, Thursday night in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer at Madison Square Garden.

Junior forward DeShawn Sims came off the bench to lead the Wolverines with 18 points. Sophomore guard Manny Harris added 15 and freshman guard Stu Douglass  chipped in a career-high 10.

The win was the first for U-M against a top five-ranked team since December 13, 1997* when Michigan defeated top-ranked Duke, 81-72. Tonight also snapped a 12-game losing streak against ranked opponents.

UCLA led 29-23 at the break before the Wolverines opened the second half on a 13-4 run. Douglass began the second stanza with a 15-foot jumper and buried a long distance three-pointer to cut the UCLA lead to one, 29-28. After the two teams traded baskets, Harris rattled home a trifecta to give Michigan its first lead of the night, 33-31.

With the score tied at 36-all, senior forward Jevohn Shepherd  hit a driving layup to break the tie. Sims then hit an 18-footer to push the U-M lead to four, 40-36.

UCLA briefly took a lead, 47-46, but the Maize and Blue regained the advantage on another three-pointer by Douglass. The Michigan lead grew to four, 53-49, on a backdoor cut dunk by Sims off a feed from junior/sophomore forward Anthony Wright. After a UCLA three-pointer cut the U-M lead to one with five seconds remaining, Harris iced the game with a pair of free throws and a block of UCLA's last-second shot attempt.

UCLA jumped out to an early 9-1 lead in the first half as Michigan started 0-for-4 from the field. Following the timeout, U-M got its first field goal on a Harris layup. Following another Harris layup, Sims made it a 6-0 run for the Wolverines with a jumper, cutting the UCLA lead to two.

Following a 9-3 UCLA run, another Sims jumper began a 9-2 burst for the Maize and Blue. Senior/junior forward Zack Gibson added an old-fashioned three-point play, while fifth-year senior guard David Merritt and Douglass also converted layups during the run, trimming the UCLA lead to one at 20-19.

The Bruins then had a 9-0 run before Sims finished the half with a dunk and a put-back to cut the halftime deficit to six.

UCLA was led by Jrue Holiday and Darren Collison, who each scored 13 points.

U-M will now meet No. 8 Duke in the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer tomorrow night (Nov. 21) in Madison Square Garden. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

From MGoBlue.com: Tom Wywrot