Jamiel Strickland drives the lane in UM-Dearborn's season-opener against Rochester College. (Photo courtesy of UM-Dearborn men's basketball).
Jamiel Strickland drives the lane in UM-Dearborn's season-opener against Rochester College. (Photo courtesy of UM-Dearborn men's basketball).
Jamiel Strickland drives the lane in UM-Dearborn’s season-opener against Rochester College. (Photo courtesy of UM-Dearborn men’s basketball).

By GEOFF MEHL, Staff Reporter

The University of Michigan-Dearborn men’s basketball team has got off to a slow start this season, falling to Purdue University Calumet 76-69 on Nov. 8 for their third loss in a row.

The Wolverines also fell to Holy Cross College on Nov. 7, 91-84, blowing second half leads in both games.

Against Purdue Calumet, they were up by 15 points and let the game slip away in the second half. Sophomore guard Brandon Cole talked about some of reasons why the team is off to a slow start.

“I think we still have to learn how to win and close out games,” he said. “That winning instinct is something we still have to develop…until we find it we’re still going to see results like this.”

As a team, the Wolverines are averaging 62 points a game, shooting just 39 percent from the field. They have been good on the boards, averaging 36 rebounds and have outrebounded opponents on the offensive boards.

Defensively the Wolverines have struggled. Opponents are shooting 47 percent from the field, and the Wolverines have been outscored 122-103 in the second half of games. Teams have shot 45 more free throws than UM-Dearborn and are shooting around 70 percent from the line.

“The last two games really came down to getting stops and being able to play defense without fouling,” said Cole. “We really struggled to do both late in games, and it really did cost us.”

With only a couple games left before UM-Dearborn opens up its conference schedule, it will need to get on the winning side of the scoreboard before taking on familiar opponents.

“It feels like every game we get closer and closer and it will come soon enough,” Cole said. “I think it’s something that will come with time…but for now, we can work harder to prepare so that the time comes even faster.”

Going forward, the Wolverines have three games this week on their schedule, including their home opener.

They host Grace College Tuesday and Rochester College Wednesday, with both games tipping off at 7:30 p.m. UM-Dearborn makes its conference debut Nov. 15 when it takes on Lourdes University in a road contest.