Michigan fought until the end but Blake Griffin and Oklahoma were just too much. Michigan hung tough in the first half despite Manny Harris picking up his second foul early and sitting for the last fifteen minutes. Michigan was able to stay close mostly thanks to an unlikely hero, Anthony Wright. Wright had 12 points in the first half and Michigan was only down one at the break. Oklahoma managed to pull ahead in the second half and hold Michigan off despite numerous comeback attempts.
Looking at the four factors the biggest difference won’t be surprising to anyone that watched the game: free throws. Oklahoma got to the line and Michigan did not. There were only four team fouls called on Oklahoma in the first 19 minutes and 56 seconds of the second half compared to 17 called on Michigan. It seemed like every 50-50 call went Oklahoma’s way but you just have to play the game. Michigan did an admirable job on the offensive glass despite Oklahoma’s size advantage. But in the end Michigan turned the ball over a little too much and just didn’t make quite enough shots from three point range. There was a stretch at the start of the second half when Michigan just couldn’t buy a three point basket. Oklahoma didn’t shoot a very high percentage from long range but they made just enough big three pointers to keep Michigan at arms length.
There is no denying that Michigan went down fighting despite being physically overmatched. They battled in the first half and even when Oklahoma started to pull away in the second half they never quit. The late run spear headed by CJ Lee was symbolic of the team’s never die attitude this whole season. There were many times that fans and media wrote this team off, claiming they had no shot at the NCAA tournament, but they always proved them wrong.
I’m not going to go through a whole “player bullets” but I wanted to mention a couple people.
- Anthony Wright played the best game of his life and it was great to see. Hopefully he can build off this in the off season.
- Zack Gibson also strung together a couple very solid games down the stretch, bringing more hustle than we have seen before.
- The freshmen just couldn’t find their range today, if just one of the three were hitting their shots it would have been huge. Stu and Zack had great years but they just couldn’t find their stroke, 3 of 15 with 4 turnovers combined.
- CJ, Dave, and Jevohn went out fighting and it will be sad to see them go. Those kids certainly are lacking in talent but their heart is what carried this team down the stretch.
- Also, Mark Snyder is reporting that Manny and DeShawn plan to stay.
The countdown until November begins. I’ll have plenty more of the next couple days including some more reaction on the season.