Amaker's Crimson top Wolverines in first matchup since firing

BOSTON (AP) -- The players who couldn't save Tommy Amaker's job at Michigan couldn't beat him now that he's coaching Harvard.

The Crimson scored the last 11 points after Michigan pulled into a tie and gave Amaker a 62-51 win Saturday night over the school that fired him after six seasons without a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

With a rare sellout crowd at the small, 2,050-seat Ivy League gym chanting "We got Tommy! We got Tommy!" Harvard responded to a surge by the Wolverines of the Big Ten by shutting them out after DeShawn Sims tied it at 51 with a layup with 3:38 remaining.

"Obviously, a very meaningful game for our program," Amaker said softly. "I want to emphasize that and not get into personal things.

"I was grateful for my time at Michigan."

He was replaced by former West Virginia coach John Beilein, who inherited a young team that starts two freshmen and three of Amaker's former players.

"They had a great game plan," Beilein said. "Tommy did a great job of preparing his team and we obviously showed we have a lot to work on."

Harvard (4-4) hadn't trailed until Kelvin Grady hit a 3-pointer to give Michigan (3-5) a 42-40 lead with 10:13 left. The Crimson went back in front 51-47, but Michigan tied it on baskets by Manny Harris and Sims. Then Harvard began the winning rally with a layup by Pat Magnarelli.

Harvard was led by Andrew Pusar with 12 points and Magnarelli and Dan McGeary with 11 each. Harris led Michigan with 13 points, and Sims and Ron Coleman added 12 each.

Amaker was fired after six seasons at Michigan in which he went to three NITs and won the tournament in 2004 but didn't reach postseason play in three other years.

His players wanted to get the win for their new coach but, "as much as we did that, we also wanted to do it for ourselves. They beat us pretty bad last year," Harvard's Evan Harris said.

The teams met for only the second time last season and Michigan, under Amaker, won 82-50 at Ann Arbor.

Beilein spent the last five seasons at West Virginia, which made it to the postseason the past four years with two berths in the NCAAs and two in the NIT. The Mountaineers won the NIT last season.

The game was Michigan's fifth in 11 days, leaving little time to practice.

"My young guys' heads are spinning about how to play college defense," Beilein said. "Hopefully, this will be a blip on the radar screen."

Michigan had come back from a 37-26 deficit to tie it by scoring the next 11 points. Coleman made it 37-37 with a 3-pointer after he got an offensive rebound.

Another 11-point run, this time by Harvard, decided the game starting with Magnarelli's layup.

Point guard Drew Housman, who kept the Crimson poised through their tough stretches, followed with a spinning layup in traffic and Evan Harris made a free throw. Housman hit two more free throws before Magnarelli and Jeremy Lin finished the scoring with layups.

"This was an incredible growth moment for us. We were knocked back on our heels," Amaker said. "I thought we regrouped nicely."

Before the game, Harvard fans chanted "Appalachian State! Appalachian State!" a reference to the team that upset then-No. 5 Michigan in the Wolverines' football opener this year. Michigan rooters responded, "Let's go blue! Let's go blue!"

There were plenty of maize-and-blue clad Michigan fans in the sellout crowd at Lavietes Pavilion, with a capacity one-sixth that of Crisler Arena, where the Wolverines play their home games.

"The energy in the building gave us the edge we needed," Amaker said. "This is a win for our program, not a win for Tommy Amaker."

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