Michigan manhandles Minnesota

C.J. Spang

For the second time this season, Minnesotaís menís basketball had no answer for Michiganís shooters.

Despite playing without two of their starters, the Wolverines pummeled the Gophers 72-50 Wednesday in Ann Arbor, Mich., shooting a blistering 51 percent from the field.

ìThis is the second time we have played them,” coach Dan Monson said. ìThese two games, and against Ohio State we just did not contest shots. They dictated the shots against us better than anybody besides Ohio State in the 11 games we have played so far.”

The last time these two teams met, Michigan shot 47.2 percent from the floor in their 71-55 romp Jan. 21 at Williams Arena, thanks mostly to senior guard Daniel Hortonís career-high 32 points.

While Horton didnít set any career highs Wednesday, he certainly had a hand in the win.

The senior guard scored a game-high 21 points and dished out five assists in the win. Teammates Chris Hunter and Ron Coleman each added 13 points for the Wolverines.

The Gophers (12-10, 3-8 Big Ten) couldnít buy a basket to start the first half and quickly found themselves in a 24-point hole, trailing 28-4 with 10:06 remaining in the first half.

The Wolverines (17-6, 7-5 Big Ten) were on fire during that same span, opening the game 9-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from three-point range.

But Minnesota found a little offensive rhythm to close the first half, knocking down six of its final nine shots to enter the locker room trailing 44-20.

Neither team shot particularly well in the second half, but the Gophers were never able to pull closer than 17. Senior guard Maurice Hargrow hit a three with 16:22 left in the game to make it 49-26 in favor of Michigan.

ìWe certainly were trying to get our guys geared up for the first four minutes of the second half,” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. ìYou give them credit for not quitting, they came out fighting.”

The lone highlight of the game for Minnesota was a meaningless steal and slam by sophomore Rico Tucker with 3:28 left in the game.

Senior guard Vincent Grier led the Gophers with a quiet 19 points in the loss.

ìI think that today we had a little more intensity and a little more hustle (on defense),” Horton said. ìFor the most part I think we played pretty good defense.”

Minnesota wasnít just torched by the Wolverinesí hot shooting and stifling defense, it was dominated in virtually every facet of the game.

The Gophers were 8-of-14 from the free-throw line while Michigan was 15-of-19, including a perfect 8-of-8 from Horton.

Minnesota was a horrid 2-of-15 from three-point range while the Wolverines shot 7-of-14 from beyond the arc. It was the second time Michigan held the Gophers to less than 17 percent shooting from behind the arc ó setting a season-best both times.

Michigan dominated the glass as well, outrebounding the Gophers 36-29.

ìMichigan really dictated both ends of the floor for an extended period of time,” Monson said. ìI thought we did some things better to start the second half. But it is a 40 minute game and we did not come prepared for the first 15.”