No. 24 Michigan beats Florida-Gulf Coast 76-59
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP)—DeShawn Sims was challenged and responded with Michigan’s first 20-20 game in more than 30 years.
Sims had 20 points and a career-high 20 rebounds to lead the 24th-ranked Wolverines to their fourth straight victory, 76-59 over Florida-Gulf Coast on Monday night.
“I was told to be a warrior tonight,” said Sims, who had nine points and 13 rebounds in the Wolverines’ cold-shooting first half. “I wanted to come out really aggressive in the first half. I wanted to go get it.”
“He was amazing,” teammate Laval Lucas-Perry said of Sims, who was 7-for-12 from the field. “Twenty points and 20 rebounds are Bill Russell numbers. He did an awesome job for us tonight.”
Washington Wizards assistant coach Phil Hubbard was the last Wolverine to reach the 20-20 plateau. He had 22 points and 26 rebounds in a victory over Detroit in the 1977 NCAA tournament.
Reserve Kelvin Grady added 14 points for the Wolverines (9-2), who moved into the Top 25 on Monday for the first time since February 2006.
The Eagles (4-8) trailed 39-18 at halftime but got as close as 57-49 late in the second half before Michigan pulled away. Sims had a dunk to ignite the streak.
Delvin Franklin had 19 points and Reed Baker, who transferred from Michigan after the 2006-07 season, added 16 for Florida-Gulf Coast. Derrick O’Neal had 11 rebounds for the second-year Division I program.
“They run such a great system,” said Eagles coach Dave Balza, a student manager for the Wolverines’ 1989 NCAA championship squad. “It’s so hard to guard them. They’re going to be a very tough team in the Big Ten this year.”
Florida-Gulf Coast cut the lead to 57-49 on Baker’s three-point play with 5 minutes left, but Sims answered with a dunk and Lucas-Perry added a 3-pointer to push Michigan’s lead back into double digits for good.
The Wolverines shot 36 percent in the first half, but the overmatched Eagles were just 5-for-23 from the field and didn’t break into double figures until the game was almost 17 minutes old. Michigan scored 11 points off offensive rebounds in the opening half and Sims matched the Eagles’ with three offensive boards.
Michigan went on a 15-0 run early in the first half and took the 19-point halftime lead. The Wolverines finished the game shooting 36 percent from the field, including 12-for-42 from behind the arc, but it didn’t bother coach John Beilein, who was happy to see his team keep shooting against the Eagles’ sagging defense.
“Obviously it was not one of our better performances, but I liked that we weren’t shy,” he said. “You’ve got to take what the defense gives you.”
Manny Harris entered the game averaging a Big Ten-best 20.3 points per game but finished with six to snap a streak of 10 straight games in double figures. It was just the fifth time in 43 games at Michigan that he failed to crack double digits.
Stu Douglass scored 12 points and Lucas-Perry added 10 for the Wolverines.