Michigan guard Zack Novak, center of crowd, is mobbed by fans rushing the court after Michigan defeated No. 15 Connecticut 68-63 on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010, at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich - AP Photo

The UConn Huskies are going to need to wake up and wake up quick. Otherwise, they are going to find themselves fighting for an NIT bid.

The Michigan Wolverines used the three-point shot, including a clutch one late in the game by Zack Novak, to get past the No. 15 Huskies in front of a sold-out Crisler Arena on Sunday afternoon.

It’s the third straight loss for the Huskies who fall to 11-6 on the season. The Wolverines, now winners of two straight, improve to 10-7 and get that signature win that’s eluded them all season long. The Huskies are still looking for that type of win themselves.

UConn guard Kemba Walker drives to the hoop for a layup as Michigan's Manny Harris defends in the second half. In the end the Walker and the Huskies came up short to the Wolverines - losing 68-63 at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich - Patrick Raycraft/Hartford CouranttPoint guard Kemba Walker paced the Huskies with 15 points that included an 11-of-13 showing from the free throw line. Gavin Edwards came off the bench to add 14 points and eight rebounds.

Jerome Dyson spent most of the first half on the bench with foul trouble but came back to score 11 of his 13 points in the second half. Stanley Robinson chipped in with 11 points while Alex Oriakhi led the Huskies with 13 rebounds.

Manny Harris led the Wolverines with 18 points and had eight rebounds. Stu Douglass added 13 points and Novak finished up with 10 points. DeShawn Sims led the Wolverines with 11 rebounds.

The Huskies got out to a 12-6 lead in the first 5:15 of the game even with Dyson hitting the bench with two fouls at the 17 minute mark. The Huskies then went cold as the Wolverines went on a 17-2 run in which they hit five 3-point shots to go up 23-14.

UConn would get as close as five points at 27-22 on two Walker free throws but Michigan responded with 5-0 run to push the lead back to 10. Edwards made 1-of-2 at the line to cut the lead to 9 at 32-23 with 1:38 to go in the half and that’s where the half ended.

In the second half, the Huskies started chipping away at Michigan’s lead as Walker layup cut the lead to four points at 34-30. Trailing by six at 39-33, the Huskies went on a 6-0 run to tie the game up. They took their first lead at 41-40 on a Dyson jumper.

The Huskies would only see the lead one more time at 47-45. They would however tie it up at 54-54 and 58-58 before Novak’s three and a Harris layup would push the lead to five. The Huskies missed four free throws down the stretch while the Wolverines hit 5-of-6 to put the game away.

All season long, the Huskies have never really played up to their ranking. Sure they’ve had a few close games against ranked opponents in Duke and Kentucky. But what about the other games we’ve seen them struggle.

This team is lacking an identity right now and it showed on Sunday afternoon. They looked out of sync with Dyson on the bench in foul trouble and they didn’t get the ball to Robinson enough to help carry them in the first half.

UConn did fight back hard in the second half but as we’ve seen too many times, they folded like a bad hand in poker at the end. Simply put, they suck at the free throw line.

With another big non-conference matchup looming next Saturday against the No. 1 Texas Longhorns, the Huskies can’t be looking past Wednesday’s Big East matchup with the St. John’s Red Storm at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. The game is scheduled to start at 7 and will be broadcast locally on My-TV9.

Notes and musings:

UConn Huskies @ Michigan Wolverines 1.17.10 box score

The starters were Kemba Walker, Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson, Charles Okawandu and Alex Oriakhi.

I’m not sure why but the Michigan students thought this was a big enough win over the No. 15 team in the country to storm the court. It was a struggling UConn team not the No. 1 team in the country or a bitter rival for that matter.

The Huskies shot 41.8% (23-of-55) from the floor while the Wolverines shot 37.3% (22-of-59).

UConn had just nine assists on their 23 made baskets.

The Huskies were 1-of-11 (9.1%) from three-point land while Michigan shot 9-of-28 (32.1%).

UConn was 16-of-25 (64%) from the free throw line. This is not acceptable but is something we’ve grown accustomed to.

The Huskies did win the battle of the boards 41-35 and outscored Michigan in the paint 34-18.

UConn committed 17 turnovers while the Wolverines had 13. UConn had 16 points off the turnovers while Michigan had 13.