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Published: Saturday, 12/20/2008

UM wins; Lucas-Perry proves his worth

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Michigan guard Laval Lucas-Perry (31) talks with teammate Manny Harris, left, after getting fouled late in the second half of their game against Oakland, Saturday in Auburn Hills, Mich. Michigan guard Laval Lucas-Perry (31) talks with teammate Manny Harris, left, after getting fouled late in the second half of their game against Oakland, Saturday in Auburn Hills, Mich.
DUANE BURLESON / AP Enlarge

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. The scouting report on Laval Lucas-Perry at least the one submitted by Michigan teammate Manny Harris says he is a 90-percent shooter from 3-point range in practice.

Playing his first game as a Wolverine, freshman Lucas-Perry supported Harris assessment by sinking his first four 3-pointers in UM s 89-76 victory over Oakland Saturday.

The Flint, Mich., native who transferred from Arizona early last season and was forced by NCAA rules to sit until Saturday, took the floor with 11:55 left in the first half. He hoisted his first long-range jumper with 10:24 to go and hit the mark.

Then another, and another, and one more.

That s why when he missed one I kind of smiled, Harris said. He doesn t usually do that.

Lucas-Perry went 4-of-6 from 3-point range and finished with 14 points and two rebounds in 16 minutes. His point total eclipsed his career high of nine points set in one of the five games he played for Arizona last season.

DeShawn Sims led the Wolverines with 20 points and nine rebounds. Oakland was paced by Keith Benson s 23 points.

After wearing suits for each of UM s prior contests, Lucas-Perry was finally able to don a blue jersey and show why he was heralded as one of the Wolverines top players before the season started.

He said he calmed his nerves during pregame warm-ups and wasn t surprised by his smooth shooting stroke.

I know I m a shooter and shooters shoot the ball well, Lucas-Perry said. They create. That s what I did. I went out there and got my shot going and got in a rhythm.

UM coach John Beilein, who was back Saturday after he missed last week s game suffering from vertigo, was going to play Lucas-Perry even if those shots weren t going in.

He just came in there and buried them, Beilein said.

He could ve gone out and gone 0-for-8, you don t know what could happen. And he d still be a great player one day.

The Wolverines (8-2) drained 10-of-18 3-pointers in the first half and 13 total. Each of UM s first four shots were successful 3-pointers the first three by Stu Douglass and a fourth by David Merritt. Douglass made all four of his 3s and had a career-high 12 points.

The Wolverines embarked on an 18-0 run over a seven-minute stretch in the first half aided by three of Lucas-Perry s 3s yet led just 42-34 at halftime.

Oakland (7-6), which acted as the home team for the game played at the Palace of Auburn Hills, cuts its deficit to four points with 6:08 left in the second half. Harris, who scored all of his 15 points after halftime, tallied eight points after the Grizzlies made it 69-65 and enabled UM to pull away.

Harris also contributed 13 assists one short of tying Gary Grant s school record of 14 registered twice in 1987. He said he was looking to get his teammates involved, but also credited the Grizzlies with taking away opportunities to score in the first half.

One of the things about beating a zone defense is getting two people to play you and then finding the there s got to be one person open, Beilein said. Manny just did it over and over again and didn t give in. It s really one of the best performances I ve seen of a kid who s been in that situation.

Contact Joe Vardon at: jvardon@theblade.com or 419-410-5055.



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