Final Horn: Michigan 67, Tulsa 62

Zach Shaw
on

DAYTON — Once again, the Michigan basketball team found itself in a tight game with the season on the line. And once, again, the Wolverines rode the coattails of late heroics to play another day.

Despite foul trouble, a lack of 3-point prowess and substantial scoring droughts, Michigan pulled it together to close out another close win, downing Tulsa late, 67-62 to advance to the NCAA Tournament first round in Brooklyn.

Michigan (23-12) will face Notre Dame after yet another grind-it-out victory. The Wolverines shot just 6 of 25 from 3-point range, but finally pulled away from the Golden Hurricane (20-12) with a 3-pointer by Zak Irvin with 53 seconds to go.

Though the final result was pretty, the first half was ugly. Both teams shot a combined 35.1 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from 3-point range. The Wolverines found themselves down, 16-9, before going an a 19-4 run to close the half. Derrick Walton Jr. scored the final 10 points of the half for Michigan to put his team up eight at the half.

Though the Golden Hurricane only scored 20 points in the first 20 minutes, they stormed back, capitalizing on the Wolverines’ foul trouble and turning the game into a back-and-forth affair. With junior guard Derrick Walton Jr. sidelined with fouls, Michigan struggled to create on offense and allowed Shaq Harrison to score 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting.

MVP: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-RahkmanIn the first half, Walton looked like the hero, scoring the team’s final 10 points over the half’s final 3:48. But when Walton picked up his third foul, it was Abdur-Rahkman’s turn to take over. The sophomore guard was able to create opportunities for himself and others, leading the team with 16 points and keeping pace with Tulsa when his teammates struggled. His aggression stood in stark contrast to the rest of his teammates, as Abdur-Rahkman attempted 8 free throws.

It was over when… Irvin’s three in the final minute put Tulsa in foul-and-shoot position, and key rebounds and clutch free throws closed it out for the Wolverines.

Key stat: Across the board, the game proved to be an even matchup. But whether it was Tulsa’s mistakes or a surprisingly-stingy Michigan defense, the Wolverines ended the game with a 20-6 edge in points off turnovers. Michigan only forced 11 turnovers, but was exceptionally efficient with nine fast-break points.

Unsung hero: Moritz WagnerWhen junior forward Mark Donnal ran into foul trouble and sophomore forward Ricky Doyle ran into trouble overall, freshman forward Moritz Wagner was there to pick up the slack. In a surprising 13 first-half minutes, the gently-used Wagner totaled a career-high five rebounds, four blocks, a steal and four points. He also thrived against Tulsa’s smaller and more athletic forwards, using his advantage in both speed and size.

Room for improvement: Michigan struggled from the perimeter, only knocking down six 3-pointers. The Wolverines will be relieved to win a NCAA Tournament game shooting 24% from long distance, but will need a better shooting night versus Notre Dame.

  • a2ag

    Survive and advance. Go Blue

  • bobohle

    Seth Davis said that tonight was the first time he’s heard Hail To The Victors. He and Gotlieb make a great pair. Ehh?

    • gobluemd16

      He was 100% joking haha

  • gobluemd16

    Wasn’t pretty but any tournament win is great by me. Wouldn’t have been as nerve-wracking in the end if Walton didnt get that bad call on his 3rd (or 4th) or Beilein curiously subbed in Doyle over Moe (and Dakich instead of Aubrey). Moe HAS to play over Ricky. He has been fantastic in all tournament play this year — all of his best games were in the Bahamas, BTT, and again tonight. Gotta shoot way, way better from three to stay close to ND. Seems like bad 3P shooting has been an unfortunate trend the last month. Nonetheless, great win and GO BLUE!

    • Stephen Chang

      It seems that Michigan pulls the trigger too early on the 3 pt shots, they have to be patient with making the shot from the outside. Learn from this game and hopefully they make their outside shots against ND on Friday.

      • Coltrane

        I think one of the biggest problems this year has been Walton’s seemingly slow recognition and adjustment to the defensive action. That’s could be on his teammates too but it’s frustrating to watch.

        • Stephen Chang

          What I am seeing too is that his teammates stand around too much and basically Walton is forced to tell them where to go. He looks frustrated and that’s understandable, but Walton needs to make better decisions offensively because I know that he can shoot the ball well and the same thing with Irvin.

  • NYCblue

    I was just wondering if anyone had any ideas on best way to get tickets for Friday’s game vs. Notre Dame in Brooklyn? Thanks…

    • scipiodreams80

      Man, I was just trying on stub hub, and I don’t think I can pay 400 to watch us get killed by the Domers. After seeing that, I’m just not flush enough at the moment to justify that.

      • Busch

        Millionaires can’t afford tickets on stubhub? What’s the world coming to…

        • scipiodreams80

          I know, it’s amazing that Sam Simon wouldn’t have had the money for an indulgence like that at the end. It’s so hard to square that with your bizarre assertion that just because you have a certain amount of money at one point, you will always have that amount of money. How do you breathe without a cheat sheet?

          • Busch

            Lmao.

    • bobohle

      Since you are in NYC maybe Stub Hub?

  • Jdubb

    We will play good on Friday.

    • Slim33

      wouldn’t surprise me at all with the way this year has gone

  • Stephen Chang

    I will take the win and I expect them to play much better Friday and they will have the advantage since they got to play first and ND will be shaking off the rust. Michigan has played in Brooklyn before so I expect that Michigan will adjust to that court quickly.

    • scipiodreams80

      We looked kind of covered in something like rust. That was hideous.

      • Stephen Chang

        Yeah, I did not like the fact that Michigan pulled the trigger early in the shot clock from outside. They were too impatient, they have to settle down and make the right shot. Also, they must drive inside, too timid to go inside and drive to the hoop. Tulsa was not big at all. ND has an experienced big inside at 6’10, 245 so Donnal has to step up his game and play better inside.

        • scipiodreams80

          I don’t know what on earth has happened to Walton’s shot. It is hard to watch.

          • Stephen Chang

            My guess is that he is settling for certain shots and making poor decisions. He needs to clean that up. He must play better because he is going up against Jackson.

          • scipiodreams80

            I have seen him miss plenty of wonderful shots. We missed so many shots tonight that were great shots. Very disheartening.

          • Stephen Chang

            Coach Beilein said the same thing and it is most likely a case of nerves, rust and sometimes pulling the trigger early. Now that they won, hopefully the shots fall Friday.

          • scipiodreams80

            ND is a pretty darn good team, so they had better.

          • Stephen Chang

            Michigan will get rest and head out to Brooklyn tonight. ND will have a ton of energy since they have not played yet, but they will be experiencing rust so I expect it to be a problem for them. Stopping Jackson and Augustine will be huge.

  • Jdubb

    Michigan have played good in Brooklyn

    • Stephen Chang

      They have won some games in the Barclay Center. Oregon was one, Stanford was one and they even beat West Virginia 81-66 the last time they faced the Mountaineers.

  • jemblue

    Is Mo this year’s McGary? Could be. He needs to be seeing solid minutes from here on out.

    • Stephen Chang

      He is stepping up big time and I want him to get more playing time over Doyle.

    • scipiodreams80

      We are not winning if Mark Donnal plays like that again. He came so far this year and he reverted horribly tonight.

      • Stephen Chang

        Did not look focused at all and allowed people to score on him inside the paint. Had no energy.

        • scipiodreams80

          He played with low confidence. Disappointing after really finding something this season.

          • Stephen Chang

            He had big games against Maryland and Illinois so I am disappointed that he is not stepping it up consistently.

    • Coltrane

      He needs to show what he did tonight against bigger, stronger competition. I love his game though, an off season in the weight room and watch out.

      • Stephen Chang

        Next season is where I think that he will become stronger. Hopefully the other big guys follow Wagner’s example next year, need more contributions from them.

  • scipiodreams80

    I keep looking at stub hub and it’s just too rich for my blood right now.

    • Stephen Chang

      Too expensive! Sheesh! I wish I could go, but I am in school so I can’t go.

      • scipiodreams80

        I’ve always wanted to see UM in a tourney game, but it’s really pricey.

        • Stephen Chang

          Exactly!