Fans storm court as Wolverines upset Huskies
Sports EditorJoyous University of Michigan fans rushed the court at Crisler Arena after Michigan knocked off No. 15 Connecticut, 68-63 on Sunday. Finally, the Michigan faithful was able to celebrate a big non-conference victory. “It was so cool rushing the court,” said Michigan student Brad Hewlett. “I was next to Denard (Robinson) and Devin Gardner jumping around going nuts. Brandon Graham was fun. He got his way to the middle of the crowd going nuts.” UM football coach Rich Rodriguez attended the game, along with many football players, including quarterbacks Robinson, Gardner and defensive end Graham. In a halftime ceremony, Graham was awarded Silver Football Award, which goes to Big Ten’s most valuable player, voted on by the Chicago Tribune. After falling behind early, Michigan came storming back, establishing a lead it wouldn’t relinquish until halfway through the second half. Down 12-6, the Wolverines went on a 17-2 run, thanks to an astounding five three-point baskets, which put them ahead 23-14. “(Anthony) Wright knocked down some big shots,” said Zack Novak. Wright, a forward, had only hit two-threes going into the game. In the first half, Wright knocked down three to help create a nine-point lead at the intermission. Wright was not the only Wolverine to step up off the bench. “(Zack) Gibson was great off the bench,” said Manny Harris. “It was huge after Sims got in foul trouble.” Gibson was a stat stuffer, collecting four points and four rebounds, two steals and two assists along with an intimidating blocked shot. Against a much taller and more athletic Huskies team, it was Michigan’s small, hustle player who came up big. Novak was all over the court doing what he could helping the Wolverines get rebounds, tip ins, blocked shots – but none was more important than his last minute and a half of play. Tied 58-58, Novak took a rushed three at the top of the key, and drilled it. It was his only basket that wasn’t a tip in off a missed shot. “I am confident in my shot,” said Novak. “I shoot good in practice. Even though I’ve struggled, I still feel confident in my shot.” Novak’s confidence didn’t leave him after that shot as he went to the foul line with 27 seconds left. He knocked down both free-throws to put Michigan up five, and make it an extremely steep, uphill climb the Huskies weren’t able to hike. The win puts Michigan at 10-7 and back in the NCAA tournament picture for the moment with the kind of signature win the selection committee likes to see. Michigan will continue its winning ways, traveling to Wisconsin, where victories by road teams are always hard to come by.