The Michigan basketball team suffered yet another painful defeat Sunday afternoon, falling to Indiana at Assembly Hall by just three points. In Five Key Plays, we look at what the Wolverines did to put themselves in a position to win, and at the moments that could’ve gone differently.
1) Mark Donnal keeps Michigan afloat in first half
Mark Donnal enjoyed a solid first half offensively, making strong plays at the basket and hitting a three-pointer for seven points in just five minutes. The freshman center, who had been suffering from an illness, appeared to be closer to full-strength than we’ve seen lately.
With nine minutes left in the first half, he ran the pick-and-roll with Spike Albrecht, who lobbed him a pass in the paint. Donnal made an over-the-shoulder catch, faked a shot to get Emmitt Holt off his feet, then finished off the glass.
Three possessions later, Kameron Chatman drove well to the basket, forcing Hanner Mosquera-Perea to leave Donnal and provide help defense. When Chatman’s floater missed, Donnal was in position for a tip-in — which he missed, but then got his own rebound for a layup.
Then, Donnal made a catch-and-shoot three when Mosquera-Perea stepped inside to stop a drive from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman.
Donnal’s seven points tied Ricky Doyle for the team lead in the first half, they also kept Michigan within striking distance at the half.
2) Indiana three-pointers stretch lead to open second half
The Hoosiers rank among the best team’s in the nation at shooting the three, so it wasn’t surprising when they began the second half hot from behind the arc.
A minute into the period, Collin Hartman hit from downtown, ending a quick four-point spurt that had brought Michigan within three. On the Hartman triple, James Blackmon Jr. delivered a perfect bounce pass to the corner around Zak Irvin and the Wolverines’ 2-3 zone. Irvin was just a moment late stepping into the passing lane and managed to contest the shot, but it was ultimately a pretty clean look for Hartman.
Following a Michigan turnover a minute later, Indiana got out in transition, where Troy Williams drove into the lane and kicked out to Robert Johnson for an open look. There wasn’t much the Wolverines could do there, as Albrecht was inbounding from the baseline and Aubrey Dawkins had fallen to the ground, but Johnson’s make forced John Beilein to call timeout down 11.
The game seemed to be at a crossroads at the beginning of the second half, but Johnson’s three forced Michigan to play catch-up the rest of the way.
3) Michigan misses inside buckets
In a three-point defeat, plays like these become magnified.
The Wolverines were down four with 10 minutes to play when Abdur-Rahkman made a hustle play to steal an inbounds pass. He went coast-to-coast for what should’ve been an easy layup, but the freshman missed, and, instead of being up just two, Indiana scored the next five points to push the lead back to nine.
At that point, after a Ferrell three-pointer, Irvin could’ve cut into the deficit when he got an open lane to the basket because Nick Zeisloft fell. Instead, the sophomore’s lay-in missed, and the Hoosiers grabbed the rebound. Irvin had another look at the basket about a minute later on a good first step around Stanford Robinson, but the forward’s decision to switch to his right hand instead of finishing with his left resulted in a block.
Irvin ultimately helped lead the comeback, but the missed layups could’ve changed the game.
4) Three-point plays by Irvin, Albrecht fuel comeback
Irvin and Albrecht both made clutch three-point plays to pull Michigan within reach in the closing minutes.
With less than 90 seconds left, heavy contact between Ricky Doyle and Robert Johnson wasn’t called, leading to a fast break for the Wolverines. Irvin found Abdur-Rahkman inside, but the freshman was underneath the basket, so he dished to Albrecht. The captain drove and finished with the left hand despite a swipe from Troy Willams.
Just half a minute later, he delivered an old-fashioned three-point play again, although that time he received a favorable call despite pushing off Ferrell.
Then, with the Wolverines down five and 30 seconds to play, Irvin made a deep three. The sophomore took a handoff on the right side of the court and both defenders followed him, leaving Albrecht alone at the wing. Instead, Irvin continued his trajectory around the arc until he got enough separation from Blackmon for a stepback trey.
Collin Hartman split two free throws with 17 seconds remaining, setting up the dramatic conclusion.
5) Abdur-Rahkman misses at the buzzer
The play was supposed to run through Irvin, but he bobbled the ball on a pick-and-pop with Donnal. Faced with a double-team, Irvin passed to Donnal, who saw Dawkins open outside the arc. Donnal made the right pass, but by then, Troy Williams had stepped away from the post area to contest the freshman.
With 2.9 seconds left, Dawkins received the pass from Donnal and immediately continued the movement around the arc, dishing to Abdur-Rahkman for the open corner three. The freshman guard had a great look, but it hit off the near side of the rim and fell harmlessly to the court.
It seems as if Abdur-Rahkman got hit on the follow-through, as both he and Hartman went went tumbling to the court, but there was no call, and the Wolverines came up just short again.