Friday , Apr , 02 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Michigan captures NIT crown

New York, NY (Sports Network) – Daniel Horton scored 14 points to lead the
Michigan Wolverines over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 62-55, for the National
Invitation Tournament crown at Madison Square Garden.

Dion Harris added 13 points for Michigan, which earned its second official NIT
crown. The Wolverines (23-11) also won the titles in 1984 and ’97, but the
latter was later stripped due to NCAA violations.

Those same NCAA penalties nearly cost Michigan a chance to play in the post-
season this year, but the school won an appeal of the sanctions last
September.

“I’m thrilled for our team and our program,” Michigan head coach Tommy Amaker
said. “We tried to make the most of this season in a fashion to make our
university proud.”

Rutgers’ Herve Lamizana ended his collegiate career by nearly posting a
triple-double, scoring 19 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking eight
shots. Ricky Shields added 16 points for the Scarlet Knights (20-13), who
missed out on their first NIT title in their first championship game
appearance.

Trailing 41-29 after Horton hit a three-pointer 3:25 into the second half,
Rutgers came to life and went on a 15-2 run to take a 44-43 lead. Quincy
Douby’s first basket of the game with 16:24 left started the run and ended an
0-for-8 shooting drought for the point guard. Shields, who had seven points
during the burst, ended it with a jumper at the 10:56 mark.

Later, with the game tied at 48-48, Michigan scored nine straight points to
clinch the game. Courtney Sims’ jumper with 5:10 left gave the Wolverines the
lead for good and Bernard Robinson’s free throw with 1:04 left capped the
burst.

Rutgers went 4:25 without a point during the Michigan run. A pair of Marquis
Webb free throws with 58 ticks left ended the drought.

Poor Michigan free throw shooting in the final minute allowed the Scarlet
Knights to remain within striking distance. The Wolverines hit only 2-of-6
from the stripe as the Scarlet Knights managed to narrow the lead to 59-55
with 19 seconds left.

However, that is as close as Rutgers would get as Michigan hit three of its
final four free throws to ice the game.

“We were fortunate they missed shots late,” Amaker said. “Certainly we didn’t
make the free throws to keep the lead at a comfortable margin, but we made
enough to come out with the victory.”

Douby, who lifted Rutgers with a 35-point performance in the semifinal round,
finished with only two points on 1-of-13 shooting before fouling out with 10
seconds left.

“As a freshman sometimes you end up pressing yourself,” Rutgers’ head coach
Gary Waters said of Douby. “When you go with a young man like that, you have
to live with a young man like that. These are the type of times he’s going to
learn from for the next time.”

Horton was the tournament MVP.

Rutgers finished shooting only 24-of-67 from the field and 3-of-19 from three-
point range. Michigan didn’t fare much better, going 21-of-59 from the floor,
including 4-of-16 from beyond the arc. However, the difference was at the free
throw line, where Michigan went 16-of-27 and Rutgers ended only 4-of-9.

The first half also saw Rutgers struggle from the field. After going ahead
16-14 just 8:36 into the half, the Scarlet Knights went over seven minutes
without a point. Lamizana’s jumper with 5:10 left ended the drought, but
Michigan had run off 11 straight points over the span to go ahead 25-16.

Rutgers later drew within 28-23 on a Lamizana tip of his own miss with 1:47
remaining, but Michigan went into the break ahead 32-25 after scoring four of
the final six points of the half.

Rutgers shot only 1-of-9 from three-point range and 11-of-35 overall in the
first half. Douby epitomized Rutgers’ struggles, going 0-for-8 from the field
in the opening 20 minutes. Michigan, on the other hand, shot 12-of-32 from the
field and 6-of-11 from the free throw line. Rutgers had only two first-half
free throw attempts.

MICHIGAN RUTGERS