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Published: Monday, 3/1/2004

Wolverines whip Buckeyes

BY RON MUSSELMAN
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Michigan forward Chris Hunter, right, does his best to keep Ohio State s Velimir Radinovic from scoring under the basket. Radinovic had 11 points and 7 rebounds. Michigan forward Chris Hunter, right, does his best to keep Ohio State s Velimir Radinovic from scoring under the basket. Radinovic had 11 points and 7 rebounds.
CARLOS OSORIO / AP Enlarge

ANN ARBOR - Two underclassmen came off the bench to steal the show for Michigan on Senior Day.

Sophomore guard Lester Abram scored 20 points and freshman forward Brent Petway contributed 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks as the Wolverines handled Big Ten rival Ohio State 75-64 in their regular-season finale at Crisler Arena.

The win capped a 3-1 home stand for Michigan (16-9, 7-7 Big Ten), which closes out conference play this week with road games at Indiana and Northwestern. The Wolverines also snapped Ohio State s modest two-game winning streak.

“I thought Brent Petway s play was outstanding,” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. “He was very active. I think he was the difference for our team.”

The 6-9, 205-pound Petway entered yesterday s game averaging 3.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 13.1 minutes. He played a season-high 24 minutes against the Buckeyes (13-14, 5-9), and matched his career high with 12 points while grabbing a career-high eight rebounds.

“I think we ve seen Brent do a lot of things at times in a spectacular fashion,” Amaker said. “I think today he was a menace in terms of some of his blocks. He s always been fairly efficient, but I thought the difference was he was very active and lively. His athleticism, at times today, stood out.”

Petway had eight points in 11 minutes in the first half, including a tip-in shot at the buzzer, as the Wolverines rallied from an early 9-2 deficit to take a 40-31 lead at the intermission.

“On offense, my teammates just found me in different situations where I could score,” Petway said. “Offensively, anything I do is a bonus. On defense, I always try to bring energy.”

Petway, whose playing time increased because 6-11 freshman forward Courtney Sims was in foul trouble throughout the game, hit five of seven shots, and four of those came on tip-ins off offensive rebounds.

“Coach wants me to be the best offensive rebounder on the team - that s what my role is,” Petway said. “The more I play, the more confidence I am gaining.”

Ohio State coach Jim O Brien was impressed with Petway s play.

“He doesn t shoot, but he gets all over the glass,” O Brien said. “He is one of those guys that if you don t put a body on him, he will make you pay.”

Petway did just that. So did Abram.

Normally a starter, he was replaced in the lineup by seldom-used Colin Dill on Senior Day. Abram, though, entered the game quickly, and scored 10 of his team s first 27 points. He finished 6-of-8 from the field, was 4-of-5 from 3-point range and hit all four free throws. He also had six rebounds and five turnovers.

“At the beginning of the game, Lester came in and made a couple of baskets for us to get us moving, because we were certainly struggling out of the gate after Ohio State jumped on us right away,” Amaker said.

Ohio State finished with 10 turnovers in the first half and Michigan turned those miscues into 12 points.

“I think the big difference was our inability to guard them and stop them when we needed to,” O Brien said. “In the first half we did well on defense, but they scored in transition off offensive putbacks. That was a big dilemma for us.

“This may be the most talented and athletic team in the conference.”

Junior guard Tony Stockman scored 22 points and kept the Buckeyes in the game for a while, but he was just 7-of-18 from the field and 4-of-13 from behind the arc. Sophomore forward Terence Dials added 13 points and 7-foot center Velimir Radinovic added 11 points and seven rebounds.

The struggling Buckeyes, who trailed by double digits for most of the second half, shot 43.6 percent (24-of-55) from the field, but just 27.8 percent (5-of-18) from 3-point range. Michigan shot 49.1 percent (26-of-53) from the floor and 37.5 percent (6-of-16) from behind the arc while pulling out a Senior Day win for Dill and swingman Bernard Robinson Jr.

Robinson, Michigan s Mr. Everything, had 13 points and four rebounds.

“I don t know if a lot of people realize this, but the last three years we lost here on Senior Day,” Robinson said. “So this win feels really good, especially coming against a rival like Ohio State in my last regular-season home game.”



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