for this game

Michigan holds off Indiana for first win since 2001

Feb 18, 2007 - 2:35 AM ANN ARBOR, Michigan (Ticker) -- Dion Harris helped Michigan conquer a longtime nemesis.

Harris scored 16 points as the Wolverines overcame some final-minute mistakes to snap an 11-game losing streak to No. 19 Indiana, 58-55, in a Big Ten Conference contest.

Sophomore Jerret Smith added 12 points for Michigan (18-9, 6-6 Big Ten), which claimed its first victory over the Hoosiers at Crisler Arena since January 9, 2001. The rare home win improved the Wolverines to .500 in conference play.

"It is big for us and it couldn't have come at a better time for us in terms of where we are in our season," Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. "What we needed to have (was) a quote-unquote signature marquee win over a ranked opponent and down the stretch here in a conference race."

Smith finished 4-of-5 from the field and hit two free throws in the final minute to ice the game despite almost blowing a five-point lead in the final minute.

"Nothing solid was really going through my head. It was just me at the free-throw line," the sophomore guard said about the clinching shots.

Michigan held a 56-51 advantage when fifth-year senior Lester Abram committed a dead-ball foul on Indiana guard Roderick Wilmont with 53 seconds to play. Wilmont converted both free throws, cutting the deficit to three points.

Wilmont finished the game with 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting and added six rebounds.

The disappointing play continued on the Wolverines' next possession as a steal by the Hoosiers' A.J Ratliff set up a layup for Mike White with 19 seconds left.

However, Smith was fouled three seconds later and buried both attempts to supply a three-point cushion.

That lead proved to be enough as the Hoosiers missed a 3-pointer and could not get off another attempt in the closing seconds after grabbing an offensive rebound.

"We tried a pick and pop for Lance (Stemler) and (Roderick) Wilmont," Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson said of the final possession. "The hardest thing in the world is to get a three when you need a three."

Courtney Sims added 13 points for Michigan, which improved to 5-1 in league home games and beat a ranked opponent for the first time this season.

Indiana (17-8, 7-5) struggled early, going into the half facing a 25-18 deficit. Michigan extended the lead to its largest margin at 28-18 on a 3-pointer by Harris in the opening minute of the second half.

"I thought our defensive energy and pressure in the first half was absolutely outstanding," Amaker said.

It was the first time this season Indiana had been held under 20 points in a half. The team shot just 27 percent (7-of-26) in the first 20 minutes.

The Hoosiers, however, rallied to grab their first lead of the game at 47-46 with 5:01 to play after a 3-pointer by Ratliff sparked a 12-4 run. With the score tied at 51-51, a free throw by Abram gave the Wolverines the lead for good.

"I thought the last 12 to 14 minutes of the game our kids played with big hearts," Sampson said. "They played awfully hard in the second. They played with a lot of toughness."

Mike White led Indiana with 11 points, all of which came in the second half. Foul trouble limited star forward D.J. White to just seven points, half off his season average.

Amaker's team starts four seniors who have yet to make an NCAA tournament appearance. Tough road games against Illinois and Minnesota are up next for the Wolverines, followed by two home games to end the season against intrastate rival Michigan State and No. 2 Ohio State.

Michigan had lost five of six games coming into Saturday's contest.

"Now we have all these teams - tough teams, big teams that are on the bubble or ranked - to play at the end of our season," Sims said. "Maybe the tournament committee will see that we picked it up at the end of our season."