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DEARBORN, Mich. - In the biggest win in recent memory, the University of Michigan-Dearborn men's basketball team solved the puzzle that has been Davenport University over the past decade. The Wolverines overcame adversity down the stretch to upset the No. 3 Panthers in overtime to open the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference season Wednesday at the Fieldhouse in Dearborn.
The Wolverines held a nine-point lead with under two minutes to play, but the outside shooting of Davenport down the stretch gave the Panthers a chance to tie it late. However, the Wolverines did not back down and came out on top in overtime 80-79. The win is the fifth straight for UM-Dearborn and moves the team to 5-2 overall and 1-0 in the WHAC.
"This win confirms the fact that our team is very talented and if they belive in themselves, we can achieve the goals we have set for this season," UM-Dearborn head coach Taylor Langley said.
The Wolverines led throughout the game and held a 67-58 advantage with 90 seconds to play. The Panthers hit two 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 68-64 and a steal by Wes Webbert set up another shot from behind the line from Kevin Rich that made it a one-point Wolverine lead. Marcus Williams (SR/Lagos, Nigeria) hit 3-of-4 from the line in the final seconds and Davenport got the game-tying bucket with 1.6 left in regulation to force the extra period.
"Davenport is No. 3 for a reason and I knew they wouldn't quit," Langley said of the Panther comeback. "Our guys continued to focus on the next position. We stayed in the moment and executed when it mattered the most."
The teams traded shots throughout the extra session and the score was tied at 79-79 with 2:25 left. The score remained the same until Jason Penn (JR/Detroit, MI) was fouled on a rebound with under a second to play, putting him at the line with a chance to win it for UM-Dearborn. Penn calmly sank the first free throw, giving the Wolverines the biggest win of the Langley era.
"Jason stepped up at the line when we needed him to," Langley said of Penn, who shot 9-of-12 from the free-throw line in the win. "Jason and Marcus were unbelievable on both ends of the floor tonight. They are All-Conference players and played like it today."
Penn finished with a team-high 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds for a double-double. Williams also finished with a double-double, scoring 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while adding 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Jeff Cain (SR/Lansing, MI ) added 14 points, while Xavier Crofford (SO/Detroit, MI) and Ashton Curd (JR/Detroit, MI) recorded eight and seven, respectively.
The Wolverines shot 25-of-63 from the field, 8-of-27 from deep and 22-of-32 from the line. UM-Dearborn finished with 13 assists and seven turnovers.
Rich led the Panthers with 23 points and eight rebounds, while Jason Haines added 15 points. Davenport (3-2, 0-1 WHAC) shot 33-of-69 from the field, 8-of-20 from behind the 3-point line and 5-of-12 from the free-throw line. The Panthers won the rebounding battle 43-37.
The Wolverines continue WHAC play at Lourdes University at 3 p.m. Saturday in Sylvania, Ohio.