By JERAMY STOVER, Sports Editor
A day that was supposed to be used for honoring and remembering was marred by a shocking announcement.
Just hours before the University of Michigan-Dearborn men’s basketball team was slated to take the floor for Senior Day, they were made aware that the NAIA was going to vacate five wins on the season.
A team that was originally locked into the sixth seed in the conference tournament now had to pull off an upset just to have a chance at making the playoffs.
And the Wolverines did their part.
UM-Dearborn defeated Aquinas 79-69 before an energetic Fieldhouse crowd.
The Wolverines did a good job of shutting down the Saints’ (20-10, 16-6 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference) leading scorer Jake Bullock in the first half but knew the junior guard wouldn’t go down quietly.
Bullock hit a three with just under nine minutes left in the second half to put the Saints to within five, but the three had more of a spark for the Wolverines.
Ali Farhat hit Jason Penn with a pass while streaking to the basket and Penn finished the play with a thundering dunk. Then, on the next possession, Farhat knocked down a triple as part of a 12-2 run.
Senior Anthony Barley would hit a three of his own with 2:19 left in the half to help put away the Saints. He and fellow senior Paul Standtke were honored at halftime for their careers in the maize and blue.
Head coach Taylor Langley opened a question about Farhat’s game with one simple word, “Wow.”
“He just had a rhythm to this game, that I just had to get out of his way as his coach and put him in positions to go make plays,” Langley said. “Man did he make some big time shots, big time passes, and got us some huge buckets down the stretch.”
Farhat led all scorers with 31 points going 11-for-18 from the field. Jason Penn contributed with 17 points and seven rebounds.
Barley finished the night eight points and three assists while Standtke had two points and four rebounds.
The Wolverines did an excellent job of taking care of the ball, committing just six turnovers. They finished the game with a 50 percent field goal percentage.
With the announcement of the Wolverines having to forfeit five of their wins coming the morning of the game, Langley was happy to see his team come out with the heads up and motivated to win.
“I’ll give my guys credit, because they could’ve folded and could’ve packed in the suitcase, and went home for the off-season and gave up. And they said ‘Nope, we’re together. We’re in this together and we’re gonna find a way,’ and they found a way,” Langley said.
While UM-Dearborn won their game against Aquinas, Siena Heights defeated Lourdes to drop the guillotine on the Wolverines’ playoff hopes.
With the five wins being taken off the record books the Wolverines have finished with an 11-19 (6-16 WHAC) record.