Final Horn: Notre Dame 70, Michigan 63

Zach Shaw

BROOKLYN — Though it certainly lasted a long time, Michigan’s late-game magic ran out Friday night. Playing with its season on the line for the fourth time in just over a week, the Wolverines (23-13) fell short against Notre Dame.

Michigan began its fifth postseason game in nine days with one of its best halves of the season. The Wolverines gained 14 points off turnovers, clicked in all areas of the game and knocked down seven 3-pointers to cruise out to a 41-29 lead.

But the Fighting Irish didn’t take long to bounce back, beginning the half on a 12-2 to virtually erase any momentum Michigan had built up.

From there, the game was a back-and-forth battle between two high-performing teams. For the fourth time in five games, the Wolverines entered the final minute with the game wide open. But against Notre Dame, Michigan finally saw its season end.

With the Wolverines done for the season, here’s our immediate reaction to Friday’s loss.

MVP: Derrick Walton gave Michigan everything he had left in the tank, finishing with 10 points, 8 assists, 6 steals and four rebounds. His legs left him in the second half as he couldn’t get a shot to fall, but he carried the Wolverines in the first.

It was over when… Zak Irvin fired and missed a straight away three that rolled in and out. Irvin had shot Michigan’s way out of plenty of jams this season, but just couldn’t find the answer on a possession that seemed out of wack from the opening jump.

Key Stat: After outscoring Tulsa, 20-6 off of turnovers Wednesday night, the Wolverines were at it again Friday. Michigan built a 14-2 edge off of turnovers in the first half, and though the Wolverines struggled in a lot of areas in the second half, their edge off of turnovers remained secure. Michigan outscored the Fighting Irish, 19-3 off turnovers to gain a huge edge yet again.

Room for improvement: Second half

Michigan just ran out of steam and let the game slip away in the second half. The Wolverines were just 9-of-32 from the floor in the final 20 minutes while Notre Dame went 12-of-21 for a 71.4 eFG%.

  • duffy

    Really felt like after having a great first half, both Walton and Robinson almost entirely disappeared offensively in the 2nd half

  • Tony DeMaria

    I can’t help but think that if Donnal could have finished a couple of times he didn’t in the 2nd half this is a different result..

    • robpollard

      Yeah, that was painful. His mid-season spurt as a finisher deserted him over the past few games.

      Whatever happened to him being an outside shooter? I remember hearing about him in practice and being great at it. Now, he essentially doesn’t do it. He’s really limited if he can’t hit outside shots and can’t finish strong at the basket.

      Still, he improved a decent sized step this year and will need to improve just as much next year for UM to be a Top 20 team. Of course, Mo Wagner turning into the high energy, athletic big he looks like he could become would be great as well.

  • Indiana_Matt

    Fatigue had to have been a factor. Some wonderful stretches. They gave us a great game, even with the disappointing result. From 16 to 23 wins without Caris and Spike for so much of the year. I will take that. Maybe we up it to 25 or 26 next year. Go Blue!

  • scipiodreams80

    I feel deeply embittered over the offensive foul on Wagner. That would have changed the game markedly if it had been an and one.

    • Indiana_Matt

      agree 100%.

    • jemblue

      Just a killer call.

  • Indiana_Matt
  • Indiana_Matt
  • Fab 5 Legends

    great game…our first half was beautiful…maybe the best of half of basketball we played all year…everything was clicking…everyone was contributing…unfortunately that ND run to start the 2nd half killed us…Walton/Robinson were gassed, non-factors…Rahkman was our best player out there for most of the 2nd half of the season…overall a GOOD Season…we got into the NCAA tourny and won a game…almost 2….i expect this team to be a top 25 team next year…with everyone back

  • Indiana_Matt
  • malcolm bolt

    Hopefully Doyle and Donnal become athletic in Jumpman gear next season.

  • Stephen Chang

    Since everyone, but Albrecht and Levert is coming back next year, I expect Michigan to be much better. It takes at least 3-4 years to fully run and understand Beilein’s system. Walton will be Michigan’s most experienced PG next year and with Watson backing him up next year, he will learn from Walton. Simpson and Davis are the ones that I have a lot of interest in their development because Simpson looks like someone that can shoot the ball very well and Davis looks like he could be a solid post player. Teske is the one that will likely redshirt. Beilein needs to get some more kids for the 2017 class, so far, only Poole is committed. It will be interesting to see how next year shapes up conference wise. Go Blue

    • bobohle

      Very positive post Stephen that’s the way you would think it to be. Except that’s what everyone said last year when Max was the only one leaving. It’s really hard to predict injuries and player development. Nobody develops at the same pace. You could almost say Zak and Derrick may have taken a step backwards sometimes. We are still one scholarship over availability for next year. I look for up to two departures from the current team. With two bigs coming in we will then have six on next years roster. That’s too many for a four guard offense. I think Davis would be more likely to red shirt or prep school next year being seventeen and not playing against high caliber competition in high school. Teske was one of the final candidates for Ohio’s Mr. Basketball which Xavier Simpson did earn and played against high caliber competition. One other note: Red shirting still counts the scholarship. Always great to be a Michigan Wolverine.

      • Stephen Chang

        You make some very good points and I agree about Walton and Irvin, this year they have been inconsistent from time to time. Next year will be their final year at Michigan and I hope that they bounce back from this year and lead this team. There needs to be a lot of improvement in the offseason and I hope to see by next season, the bigs putting on more weight, Robinson becoming more then an outside shooter, Wagner inserted into the starting lineup, etc. I would like to see more bench production as well next year too.