ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Just two days after his father died,
Bernard Robinson Jr. used the court as an escape.
Robinson had 17 points and four assists in Michigan's 70-66
victory over UCLA on Saturday while putting his non-basketball
thoughts on hold.
"I prayed before the game, but I just wanted to focus on this
game and UCLA," he said. "I didn't want to try to do too much."
Carolyn Robinson called her son on Christmas to let him know the
one-year battle his 52-year-old father, Bernard Robinson Sr., had
with lung cancer was over. She encouraged him to stay with the
team, and to fly home to Washington D.C. on Sunday.
He said it was the right decision.
"You couldn't ask for anything better," he said. "The coaches
and my teammates did a great job of showing me love. It felt good
to be here."
Robinson did not know whether he would play Tuesday at home
against Boston University because he did not know when his father's
funeral would be.
"I had a lot of respect for him before this, but now I have
even more," said teammate Daniel Horton, who scored a season-high
19 points to lead four Wolverines in double figures. "If my dad
passed, I would've probably had to go home. It says a lot about
Bernard that he stayed."
The Wolverines (8-1) made just enough free throws and stops in
the final minutes to hold on against the Bruins after leading by 11
with 4:38 left.
Michigan's Courtney Sims tied a season-high with 12 points and
blocked Cedric Bozeman's shot in the final minute when the Bruins
trailed by just four. Graham Brown scored a season-high 10 points
and made consecutive baskets that gave Michigan a 67-60 lead with
Following Brown's field goals, Thompson's 3-pointer made it
67-63 with 1:30 left. His fifth 3-pointer pulled UCLA within three
with 7.6 seconds left.
"They are a lot tougher than they were last year," said
Horton, who helped Michigan beat UCLA 81-76 last season.
Dijon Thompson led the Bruins (4-3) with 21 points. Thompson
made three of his five 3-pointers in the final minutes, but UCLA
couldn't get closer than three. Trevor Ariza scored 15 points and
T.J. Cummings added 12 for the Bruins.
"We just had too many turnovers (20) against their pressure,"
UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "And we didn't capitalize on
opportunities in the second half, but Michigan deserves some credit
UCLA has lost its three games -- against Kentucky, UC Santa
Barbara and Michigan -- by a total of seven points.
"We've just got to use the experience of losing these close
games to get better," Ariza said.