ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan's basketball program has been hibernating for a decade.
It looks like the Wolverines are finally waking up.
DeShawn Sims scored a career-high 28 points to leading Michigan to an 81-73 victory over Duke on Saturday, its second win over a No. 4-ranked team in two weeks.
The Wolverines (6-2) beat then-No. 4 UCLA before losing 71-56 to Duke in the 2K Sports Classic final.
Michigan — which hasn't been to the NCAA tournament since 1998 — has beaten two top five teams in the regular season for the first time since 1986-87, the year after its last Big Ten title.
"I still think it's a rebuilding year," Sims insisted. "Even though we've had two big wins, we've also lost two games. It definitely says we're executing what Coach wants us to do on both ends of the court."
Duke (8-1) made just three of 27 3-point attempts before connecting on four in a row to pull within four points in the final minute. The Blue Devils finished 7-of-33 for one of their worst performances beyond the arc in more than a decade.
"Michigan did a good job with the 1-3-1 zone," said Nolan Smith, who matched the team high with two 3-pointers and finished with 12 points. "They extended it to take away 3s in the corners and on the wings."
The Wolverines made 13 of 14 free throws in the final 3 minutes to seal the upset, leading to hundreds of fans from the sold-out crowd rushing the court.
"I'm at a little bit of a loss for words," second-year Michigan coach John Beilein said. "That was a great atmosphere, wasn't it?"
It was as great as it was rare.
After an 11th lead change and 16th tie, Novak's second straight 3-pointer led to Duke calling a timeout with 7:39 left to calm down a raucous crowd that's characteristically quiet in a community consumed by football.
"I saw the Savannah State tape and there weren't too many seats full," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, referring to the previous home game that had an announced crowd of 8,190 in an arena that holds almost 14,000. "It's party time every time we come to town, but this is a great school and they deserve this level of support for every game."
Manny Harris scored 17 points for the Wolverines and reserve freshman Zack Novak had a season-high 14, connecting on consecutive 3-pointers to give them the lead for good with 7˝ minutes left.
Sims, a junior forward, matched a career high with 12 rebounds.
Michigan's win over the Bruins was its first against a top five team since 1997, and was the team's first over a ranked opponent under Beilein.
The Wolverines had lost five straight home games against ranked opponents since beating Indiana 58-55 in 2007.
Before the season, Beilein downplayed expectations by saying the Wolverines were "trying to keep our head above water," after losing a school-record 22 games in his first season.
It will be tough to tone down the excitement with two wins over No. 4 teams and a respectable five-point loss earlier this week at Maryland.
"We're not worried about what fans or the media think about where we're at right now as a team," Harris said. "We're just going to keep going to work."
Jon Scheyer scored 16 points for Duke and Kyle Singler had 15, but they were a combined 2-of-14 on 3-pointers.
"Give Michigan credit," Krzyzewski said. "They played great and the crowd was fantastic."
Duke had won 31 straight games against unranked, nonconference opponents dating to a loss against Georgetown on Jan. 21, 2006.
"A loss always hurts — nonconference, conference, whatever," Smith said. "Any time you lose, you want to play the next day."
The Blue Devils, though, are idle until Dec. 17, when they host North Carolina-Asheville.
They didn't trail for the first 5 minutes of the game, but it was clear the Wolverines belonged on the same court.
Duke hadn't show signs of being susceptible to an upset, winning at No. 9 Purdue 76-60 earlier in the week.
"We were really worried coming off the Purdue game. This is a tough academic week for us, and we didn't handle it in a mature way," Krzyzewski said. "We were not mentally ready to play."