Junior guard Jamiel Strickland during Midnight Madness. (Amanda Gosline/MJ)
Junior guard Jamiel Strickland during Midnight Madness. (Amanda Gosline/MJ)

By Dan Jenkins, Staff Reporter

A home crowd enjoyed cheering the University of Michigan-Dearborn Wolverines to their first victory of the season as they defeated the Adrian College Bulldogs 54-45 on Sunday evening.

The Wolverines (1-7, 0-4) staved off a second-half rally from the Bulldogs, holding Adrian to just five points over the final 4:12 minutes of the game. UM-Dearborn converted on 9-of-10 from the free throw line in the final three minutes to seal the win, including 6-of-6 from junior Jamiel Strickland.

Strickland led the way for the Wolverines, scoring 19 points, grabbing seven rebounds, shooting 11-of-12 from the free throw line, and playing all but two and a half minutes over the course of the game. Marcus Tillmon-Cornet contributed with 10 points which included two 3-pointers in the first half.

Tillmon-Cornet’s long-range bombs helped the Wolverines race out to a 14-4 lead to begin the game. The Bulldogs countered, cutting the lead to five, but the Wolverines would fought back to lead 29-20 at halftime.

Adrian (1-6) would fight back again in the second half, but the Wolverines did just enough to come away on top. UM-Dearborn coach John Mackson saw great fight in his team, but was not completely impressed by his group’s performance.

“I’m happy we won, but we honestly didn’t play well enough to win the game,” Mackson said. “But, we did do a good job in transition in the second half and we didn’t take a lot of hurried shots.”

The Fieldhouse was filled with friends and family who showed to support the Wolverines in search of their first victory, and Mackson believes that was due in part to strategy.

“The best thing that we did was schedule this on a holiday weekend,” Mackson said. “We had a great crowd; the crowd probably willed us through this game. We were okay on defense but we have to do a better job of maintaining our intensity throughout 40 minutes.”

The Wolverines will look to earn their first conference win of the season when they take on Marygrove College (0-9, 0-4) on December 4 at 7:30 p.m. The team will then travel to take on Northwestern Ohio (5-3, 3-1) in a matinee on December 7 at 3 p.m.