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Published: Thursday, 1/29/2004

Sims lifts Michigan to win over Iowa

BY RON MUSSELMAN
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

ANN ARBOR - Michigan s Courtney Sims spent the first half of the season concentrating on his defense and blocked shots.

But the 6-11 freshman forward blocked all that out last night and put his offensive skills on display.

Sims had two blocks, one rebound, and one steal in 24 minutes, but hit 6 of 10 shots and scored a career-high 16 points as the Wolverines outlasted Iowa 90-84 at Crisler Arena.

“I got off to a good start offensively and that gave me confidence throughout the game,” said Sims, who scored nine of Michigan s first 24 points and finished with 11 in the first half.

“I can shoot the ball. I just haven t been doing it that much this season.”

Sims entered last night s game averaging 6.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and a Big Ten-high 2.2 blocks per game. He also was leading the Wolverines in shooting, hitting 53.3 percent (40 of 75).

He hit his first career 3-pointer in six tries in the second half and finished in double figures for the first time since Dec. 30, when he had 10 points in a nonconference home loss to Boston University.

“It makes me feel real good to have a big offensive game and contribute to the win,” said Sims, who made five of his first six shots. “And it helped get us back in the Big Ten race and that s exciting.”

Sims was one of five players in double figures for Michigan (12-5, 3-3 Big Ten), which shot 53.4 percent (31 of 58) and made a season-high 10 3-pointers on 22 attempts while playing on its home court for the first time in 11 days.

The 90 points also were a season high for the Wolverines, who have beaten Iowa (10-7, 3-3) five of the last six times. The Hawkeyes, who shot 58 percent (29 of 50) despite dressing only eight healthy scholarship players, fell to 1-5 on the road.

“It was certainly a very entertaining offensive game,” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. “It was a really good effort by both teams. Both teams shot the ball extremely well, except for us on foul shots late in the game.

“I thought [Brent] Petway and Sims really gave us a big lift. I thought their play was outstanding. “

Petway, a 6-9 freshman forward, had five points and seven rebounds in 13 minutes off the bench as Michigan improved to 9-2 at home while dealing the Hawkeyes their fourth loss in six games.

Sophomore guard Lester Abram also had a big offensive game for the Wolverines, scoring 24 points in 36 minutes while making eight-of-12 shots, four-of-six 3-pointers and four-of-five free throws. It was his biggest offensive output since scoring a career-high 27 points against Northwestern on Jan. 7, but he has tallied 43 in the last two games.

Sophomore point guard Daniel Horton, who didn t start Saturday s game at Penn State because of an academic issue and who missed practice Tuesday because of food poisoning, had a solid game against Hawkeyes. He scored 15 points and had seven assists, three steals and three turnovers in 36 minutes.

“I m happy with the way I played,” Horton said.

Senior forward Bernard Robinson, Jr., had 10 points and seven rebounds for UM before fouling out. Freshman guard Dion Harris added 10 points and four assists.

Iowa, which trailed 44-37 at halftime and never got closer than four points in the second half, also had five players in double figures, led by sophomore Pierre Pierce s 23 on 9-of-13 shooting. Senior forward Glen Worley added 18.

“We shot the ball well and got to the free throw line 26 times, but you have to give credit to Michigan,” Iowa coach Steve Alford said. “They hit 10 3-pointers and stepped up late in the game when they needed to.”



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