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Harris leads Michigan past Illinois

Jan 4, 2009 - 9:44 PM ANN ARBOR, Michigan (Ticker) -- Manny Harris helped Michigan earn its first Big Ten victory, while at the same time ending Illinois' seven-game winning streak.

The sophomore scored 16 points Sunday, leading No. 24 Michigan to a 74-64 victory over the Fighting Illini.

Harris was only 6-of-15 from the floor and missed all five shots from the arc, but contributed seven rebounds and five assists to help the Wolverines (11-3, 1-1 Big Ten) surpass last season's win total of 10 during coach John Beilein's first season.

"They've got a good group and (Beilein has) his system in," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "He's spreading you, playing small ball, and he puts you in a bind. He's done a nice job here."

With the game tied at 48-48 just five minutes into the second half, Harris jumped into a passing lane to force a turnover and then took it the length of the floor for a dunk, forcing Illinois to take a timeout.

Following the stoppage, Michigan forced two more turnovers and got a short jumper from Kelvin Grady and a dunk from Zack Gibson to take a 54-48 lead.

Then, with the score knotted at 62-62 with 6:16 remaining, Michigan closed the contest with a 12-2 run as Illinois missed its final seven shots down the stretch.

Laval Lucas-Perry broke the tie with a layup and Gibson followed with a dunk at the 4:07 mark to put Michigan ahead, 66-62.

DeShawn Sims and Grady each scored four points during Michigan's final run, and both sank a pair of free throws in the final minute to close out the scoring.

"In the locker room at halftime, we had some guys talking louder and more aggressive than they have in the past and that's really key for us," Beilein said. "DeShawn Sims really showed some great leadership. He wanted to win that game and his passion was terrific."

Sims and Lucas-Perry each finished with 13 points. Freshman Zack Novak added 11 and Gibson finished with 10 for the Wolverines.

As a team, Michigan shot 49 percent (26-of-53) from the floor.

"This definitely isn't a two- or three-man team," said Harris, who is averaging a team-high 18.8 points. "Every night, someone different may have their night."

The Fighting Illini (13-2, 1-1) were led by Calvin Brock, who scored 13 points.

Illinois also got 11 points from Demetri McCamey and 10 each from Alex Legion and Mike Davis.

The Illini connected on 45 percent (28-of-62) of their field goals.