By JERAMY STOVER, Staff Reporter
It was a crazy week for the UM-Dearborn men’s basketball team. With a pair of important conference games, the Wolverines lost to Aquinas 74-66 and defeated Lourdes 59-54.
On Feb. 4, Aquinas got out to nine point halftime lead. The Wolverines would outscore the Saints in the second half, but would not put enough points on the board to get the win.
Brandon Cole led the Wolverines with 17 points. Patrick Hebda was a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range and scored 12 points on the night.
On Feb. 7, the Wolverines welcomed Lourdes to the Fieldhouse. The Gray Wolves got out to a 16 point lead at halftime by shooting 56 percent from the field.
Lourdes played tough defense which made it difficult for the Wolverines to get points. A 12-0 run early in the half was a key reason for the Gray Wolves halftime lead.
The second half would be completely different.
The Wolverines played much better defensively and used the defensive stops to create scoring chances. Jamiel Strickland drove to the basket and made a reverse lay-up to trim the Lourdes lead to seven with 13:41 left in the half.
After picking up his fourth foul a couple minutes later, coach Taylor Langley brought Strickland to the bench and put in Brandon Kennedy to take his place.
The move would pay off greatly.
Kennedy would throw up an alley-oop pass to Cole who finished the play with a forceful dunk that erupted the Fieldhouse.
Jason Penn scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half including three crucial free throws with under a minute left.
Free throws, which the Wolverines have struggled with most of the season, helped them complete the 16-point came back and pick up an important conference win.
“We’ve lost so many close games this year and for our guys to get one and hang their hat on something and realize this is what we do all of this work for and have something to show for,” Langley said. “That means a lot to me and it feels great for our guys.”
Langley praised Kennedy for playing well down the stretch and stepping up when his team needed him to.
“Credit Brandon Kennedy, he played unreal. I don’t care what he scored or what the stat says he was unbelievable,” Langley said. “He got us into our offense he handled their pressure he held down the ship for Jamiel until he could come back and make a couple of closing plays.”
The Wolverines 9-19 (5-13 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference) have two away games next week. They play Lawrence Tech on Feb. 11 and Madonna on Feb. 14.