Michigan escapes against Clemson for win

BY foxsports • March 20, 2009

Michigan was supposed to be the team with the jitters. The Wolverines hadn't been to the NCAA tournament in over a decade, had to sweat out Selection Sunday just to find out if they'd get in.

Michigan survives

Video: Hear from Michigan after the Wolverines knocked off Clemson in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Turns out they weren't so nervous after all.

Michigan stymied Clemson with its zone defense and survived a late scare in its first NCAA tournament game in 11 years, beating the Tigers 62-59 in the first round of South Regional on Thursday night.

Showing little sign of nerves in their first NCAA game since a booster scandal rocked the program in the 1990s, the Wolverines (21-13) handled (mostly) Clemson's frenetic press and held one of the nation's highest-scoring 20 points below its average. Manny Harris had 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Stu Douglass added 12 points to send the Wolverines into Saturday's second round against Oklahoma or Morgan State.

"Finally!" Michigan forward Anthony Wright said. "This is for the team, the coaches, Ann Arbor, the state of Michigan, just giving back to the fans because they've been waiting for this opportunity. It's good to give it back to them."

Clemson (23-9) nearly didn't let them have it.

After facing mostly man coverage during the ACC season, the seventh-seeded Tigers had to dust off their zone offense and struggled early. Jumpers, 3-pointers, layups - didn't matter. Clemson couldn't seem to get the hang of Michigan's defense and clanged shot after shot, shooting 32 percent, including 5-for-22 on 3-pointers.

share story