Jordan Poole’s 3-pointer as time expired carried the Michigan men’s basketball team to the Sweet 16.
Poole’s shot at the buzzer lifted Michigan to a 64-63 win over Houston in a second-round game in the 2018 NCAA Tournament on Saturday in Wichita, Kan.
WHY MICHIGAN WON:
Michigan’s shooting was cold in the early going of the second-round game, going 0 for 6 from the floor, including 5 3-point attempts. Jon Teske scored Michigan’s only point in that stretch on a free throw less than 3 minutes into the game.
Everyone looked toward Houston point guard Rob Gray, but forward Breaon Brady set the tone in the opening moments with a strong inside presence for the Cougars. However, the Cougars and the Wolverines struggled to score points, and went a combined 19 for 62 from the floor in the first half.
Devin Davis’ free throws for Houston tied the score at 28-28 with 1:55 left in the first half, but both teams struggled to sink shots. Michigan went without a successful shot from the floor for nearly 4½ minutes in the first half, while Houston closed the half on a scoring drought of more than 4 minutes.
Houston opened its lead to 49-43 as Gray hit back-to-back 3-pointers 9 minutes into the second half, and led 51-46 until Michigan tied the score with a 5-point swing with 5:41 left. Michigan went 8 for 8 on free throws in a span of nearly 2 minutes to take a 57-54 lead, but Armoni Brooks’ 3-pointer tied the score with 2:56 left.
Devin Davis missed a pair of free throws for Houston with 3.6 seconds left, then Poole’s leaping 3-pointer lifted the Wolverines to a dramatic finish.
WHAT IT MEANS: Michigan extends its win streak to 11 games, a run that dates to Feb. 11, and advances to the Sweet 16.
WHO STARRED: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 12 points for Michigan. Duncan Robinson added 11 points for Michigan, including a pair of early 3-pointers. Robinson also established a necessary inside presence against Houston, a team that was aggressive underneath the basket.
WHO STUMBLED: Moritz Wagner struggled to find his rhythm in the early going against Houston. He scored 12 points, but only 2 in 14 minutes during the first half. Still, he shrugged off his early struggles. Wagner hit a 3-pointer 2:30 into the second half that cut Houston’s lead to 32-31, then helped the Wolverines take a 33-32 lead on a 3-pointer seconds later.
Wagner, however, took his third foul about 6 minutes into the second half, then his fourth with 8:43 left.
WHO IS NEXT: Michigan faces either Texas A&M or North Carolina in a Sweet 16 game Thursday in Los Angeles.