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Michigan drops final non-conference game to UCF, 85-71

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Wolverines will now limp into Big Ten play sitting at 7-5

NCAA Basketball: Southern Utah at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines dropped their non-conference finale to the UCF Knights 85-71. Moussa Diabate (13), Hunter Dickinson (12), Devante Jones (17), and Eli Brooks (18) all had big scoring games. Michigan led by as many as 12 in the second half, but the Knights were able to come back and get the win. Darin Green JR and Brandon Mahan had huge games for the Knights going for 27 and 26.

1st Half

Michigan held a small lead consistently throughout the first half, never leading by more than seven. Hunter Dickinson and Eli Brooks led the way in the first half for the Wolverines, scoring eight points. Michigan distributed the scoring well, as Moussa Diabate added six points, and Devante Jones had seven. Caleb Houstan struggled in the half, going 0-5 from the floor with just one point. Terrance Williams added two points off the bench and Kobe Bufkin added three. Michigan struggled to guard Darin Green JR, who has been a force all year long for the Knights. Green had 16 points for UCF, and no other Knight had more than 5. Michigan went into the break with a 35-31 lead.

2nd Half

Michigan started off the second half strong and looked like they might run away with this one. The Wolverines got out to a 47-35 lead with just under 17 minutes to play before UCF mounted their comeback. Michigan had no answer for Green all night, as he finished with 27. Brandon Mahan had a monster second half with 22 points and finished with 26 for the Knights. UCF took a 52-51 lead with around 12 minutes left and never looked back. Michigan was able to hang around for awhile before the Knights ultimately pulled away for the double digit victory. The Knights were also perfect from three in the second half, going 8-8.

Nobody expected Michigan to be entering Big Ten play on this note, and there is surely a lot of work to be done if the Wolverines are going to have a successful run in one of the toughest conferences in basketball.

Michigan travels to Rutgers on January 4th for their next contest.