ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. – The University of Michigan-Dearborn started the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference season with a huge win on the road, topping No. 21 Rochester College Monday in Rochester Hills, Mich.
The game included several shifts in momentum, but down three with 25 seconds left, the Wolverine defense made plays and UM-Dearborn (RV) hit four key free throws in the final seconds to edge the Warriors 73-70. The win pushes UM-Dearborn to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the WHAC.
Rochester, a newcomer to the WHAC this season after going to the NAIA Division II National Tournament as an independent institution a year ago, jumped out to a 21-9 lead in the first half. UM-Dearborn rallied to cut the deficit to 27-24 at the break. The Wolverines came out of the locker room strong, building an 11-point lead with just under 11 minutes to play.
The home team responded, fighting back to take a 66-65 lead with 3:08 left. A 3-pointer from Armand Cartwright put Rochester up two with 2:12 left. After two UM-Dearborn missed shots and a turnover, the Warriors went up three with 25 seconds left.
Senior Jason Penn (SR/Detroit, MI) cut the Rochester lead to one with a tip-in off a missed layup with 15 seconds left. After a timeout, junior Xavier Crofford(JR/Detroit, MI) stole the inbound pass and was fouled. He hit two free throws to give the Wolverines a 71-70 lead. The Warriors were unable to answer and sophomore Cody Kegley (SO/Yale, MI) iced the win with a pair of free throws at the end.
Five Wolverines finished in double figures, led by junior Mafiaion Joyner (JR/Battle Creek, MI). He scored 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting while hitting a pair of 3-pointers, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out five assists. Crofford finished with 16 points of the bench with two 3-pointers, while senior Ashton Curd(SR/Detroit, MI) added 12 points. Penn recorded 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds, while Kegley finished with 10 points.
The Wolverines shot 28-of-50 from the field, 6-of-19 from deep and 11-of-16 from the line while winning the rebounding battle 34-23.
UM-Dearborn returns to non-conference action against Spring Arbor University (RV) at 7:30 pm Wednesday in Spring Arbor, Mich.