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Juwan Howard returns after heart surgery in Michigan win

Juwan Howard returns after heart surgery in Michigan win


ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Juwan Howard coached for the first time since having heart surgery in September, and Olivier Nkamhoua had 17 points, nine rebounds to lead Michigan to an 83-66 win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday.

“I’m healthy enough,” Howard said.

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel announced on Friday that Howard would return to his head coaching duties after a review of an incident involving several individuals during a team practice last week. Howard was involved in an altercation with strength and conditioning coach Jon Sanderson, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Borzello.

No punches were thrown, according to multiple sources, but the two men needed to be separated.

“Based on a thorough internal review, nothing was found to warrant disciplinary action for anyone involved,” Manuel said.

Sanderson has not been on the team’s sidelines for two straight games and his status with the team is unclear.

“There’s still a review happening at this moment,” Howard said.

Howard had open-heart surgery on Sept. 15 that kept him in the hospital for 15 days. He had been gradually working his way back to a full-time role while resting and rehabbing. Prior to Saturday’s game, Howard first returned to the bench as an observer for a Nov. 22 loss to Memphis. He served as an assistant to acting head coach Phil Martelli for a loss at Oregon on Dec. 2.

Michigan (6-5) hit 12 of 27 3-point attempts against Eastern Michigan, shot 54% overall and led by double figures throughout the second half.

Nkamhoua went over 500 career rebounds and also blocked two shots. Nimari Burnett added 14 points, Terrance Williams II scored 13 and Dug McDaniel had 11 points. Travis Reed Jr., coming off the bench for the first time this season, had 13 points and eight rebounds.

Tyson Acuff, coming in scoring over 22 points per game, finished with 24 for the Eagles (5-5). Acuff was 10 of 27 but missed all seven of his 3-point tries. Orlando Lovejoy added 16 points for the Eagles, who shot 40% and made just 2 of 15 from the arc.

A flurry of 3s gave Michigan a 10-point lead six minutes into the first half and the Wolverines led thereafter. Michigan was 8 of 17 from the arc with three apiece from Williams and McDaniel in the first half and led 49-32.

The Eagles got within 10 midway through the second half. But Tray Jackson hit a 3, and after Eastern Michigan’s Yusuf Jihad‘s dunk attempt went awry, Reed’s layup restored a 15-point lead. The Wolverines led by as many as 20 late.

Michigan takes on Florida on Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the Jumpman Invitational.

Eastern Michigan is host to Hampton on Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.



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