The Michigan Wolverines rallied from an 8-point deficit in the final 2 minutes, 54 seconds of regulation — and forced overtime on a near-miraculous 3-pointer by D.J. Wilson — but couldn’t complete the comeback, losing at Minnesota, 83-78, Sunday night.
Michigan head coach John Beilein was pleased with how the Wolverines handled the adversity but wasn’t a fan of how they executed early in the game, how they got beat on the boards and how poorly they shot free throws.
Wilson’s shot, from several feet beyond the top of the 3-point line, went in with 1.8 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 72-72. Michigan led one time in overtime, 75-74, after a 3-point shot by Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman with 3:18 left. But Michigan (17-10, 7-7 Big Ten) never led again.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Wolverines and a nine-game winning streak against Minnesota (20-7, 8-6). It also drops Michigan a game behind the Gophers and Michigan State in the Big Ten standings. All three teams are chasing fourth-place Northwestern (9-5) for the final double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament in three weeks.
Michigan shot 50 percent from the floor (30 of 60) but the Wolverines were also just 50 percent from the free throw line, making 9 of 18. They entered the game making 78.9 percent of their free throws for the season. Minnesota didn’t shoot a great percentage from the free throw line, either, but the Gophers shot a lot of them. They made 28 of 41 foul shots, a demonstration of their determination to play inside the lane. The Gophers had a 13-3 advantage in offensive rebounds, which translated to a 19-0 advantage for them on second-chance points.
Minnesota also benefited from a technical foul called against the Michigan bench with 4:39 to play in regulation. Referee Ted Valentine assessed the technical after seeing a Michigan assistant jump up on the raised floor at Williams Arena and run to the baseline following a foul call against Michigan’s Mark Donnal. Minnesota made all four free throws from the segment, two from the technical foul and two for the foul against Donnal.
Beilein spoke on the Michigan radio broadcast after the game. Here are his comments:
On Michigan fighting back from late-game deficit
“I loved the way we fought back in that game. That could have gotten away from us but we kept getting stops and then going up and making the plays we needed to make to win the game. It just didn’t (happen). Uncharacteristically, we had guys who are like 80 percent (free-throw shooters) miss foul shots. That’s two games in a row. It creeps up on you. We’ve got to get through it. We’ll practice it a lot but the fact is you’ve got to do it in games. We’ll have to do it against Rutgers. If we can get ahead of Rutgers on Wednesday we’re going to have to go finish the game on the foul line because we couldn’t do that today.”
On if game came down to Michigan’s missed free throws
“I don’t know that. I think there was a lot of tough breaks in this game, and I’m going to leave it at that.”
On if Wilson’s 3-point shot to send game to OT was designed play
“We were trying to get (the ball) to Duncan (Robinson) but, if they guarded that, we had residual action, a penetrate and a kick. (Wilson is) a pretty good long-range shooter, but no. I wish I could take credit for that play. I didn’t. It was just a matter of trying to get Duncan open. He did not get open but he was smart enough not to shoot a bad shot because we had 8 seconds. So, with those 8 seconds we ended up getting a good shot.”
On what he told team in locker room
“We’ve got to grow from it. These are the kinds of games you can really get better from. If we look at this video tomorrow and we see all the things that could’ve made a difference in a very tight game. A simple block-out here. Two hands on the ball somewhere else. The first play. We ran the first play, and all a sudden we just blew it up on our own, and it was going to work. Just the idea of having some more discipline to our game, some more toughness could’ve made a difference in this.”
From Beilein’s postgame news conference:
On the technical foul call
Beilein on the explanation he was given on the technical: "How do I say this without throwing anyone under the bench? It wasn't on me."
— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) February 20, 2017