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Published: Monday, 2/18/2008

Michigan upsets Ohio State

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Michigan's Manny Harris is ahead of the pack as he scores against Ohio State. He had a
career-high 27 points for the Wolverines. Michigan's Manny Harris is ahead of the pack as he scores against Ohio State. He had a career-high 27 points for the Wolverines.
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ANN ARBOR - Senior forward Ron Coleman made his Michigan teammates aware he'd never beaten Ohio State in his four years as a Wolverine.

Freshman Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims changed that for him yesterday as they lifted Michigan to an 80-70 Big Ten basektball upset win over the Buckeyes.

Harris scored a career-high 27 points and Sims added 22 for the Wolverines.

Coleman "kept stressing to us that he had lost to them the last seven times," Harris said. "At the end of the game, he came up to me and said, 'Thank you.' That was his first time [winning]. I knew he wanted it."

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Coleman, who went scoreless in 15 minutes of play, said he made sure his teammates knew how important the game was to not only him, but to the Michigan program.

"I always talk to the guys," Coleman said. "I tell the guys that we've got to use every game as a building block. We've still got a lot to do, still got games coming up and a tournament.

"It was a great game for me and a lot of people. He [Harris] played hard. He played great. We just had everyone clicking. We played great defense, hit shots at the right time and made stops at the right time."

Michigan (8-17, 4-9 Big Ten) has won three Big Ten games in a row for the first time since it registered five consecutive conference victories over a stretch in January and February, 2006.

"This is the biggest win of the year for us," said Harris who also had seven rebounds. "It's taken us a long time to click, but I think we're clicking now. Everybody is focusing and playing all 40 minutes, instead of playing 30 or 20."

Kosta Koufos scored 18 points and Evan Turner had 16 for the Buckeyes (17-9, 8-5). It was Ohio State coach Thad Matta's first loss to Michigan in eight games.

After Ohio State took a 44-43 lead early in the second half, Michigan blew the game open with a 15-5 run to build a 58-48 advantage with 10:42 left. The Wolverines had 3-pointers from Harris, Sims and Kelvin Grady during the stretch.

The Buckeyes responded by scoring 10 of the next 12 points to cut the deficit to 60-58. The game stayed close down the stretch, but Michigan was able to hold off Ohio State by hitting 9 of 12 free throws in the final 86 seconds.

"We've been watching them throughout the year and they've been getting better," Matta said of the Wolverines. "We told our guys this is the best seven-win team I've ever seen. They had a great confidence today and they did a good job of making big plays."

Neither team could gain full control of the first half.

There were eight lead changes and six ties, including 38-all at halftime. Ohio State made 68 percent of its field goal attempts in the half.

"At times we did some decent things today," Matta said, "but just not enough consistency down the stretch of making big plays or coming up with rebounds. The start of the second half was not very good."

NOTES: Ohio State leads the all-time series 82-70. ... Michigan backup guard David Merritt left the game with just over seven minutes remaining with a knee injury. UM officials said Merritt would undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the injury. ... Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez addressed the crowd at halftime and introduced his family and assistant coaches. ... The Wolverines have won three consecutive games for the first time this season.



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