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November 24, 2013
Instant Recap: Charlotte 63, U-M 61
Two days after coming back from a 16-point deficit to Florida State, the Wolverines faced a 12-point hole in the second half of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off title game against Charlotte.
The Wolverines fought back and tied the game at 61 with nine seconds to go. But Charlotte wasn't about to let the upset slip their its hands. The 49ers flew down the court and score with less than a second remaining on a putback under the hoop, winning 63-61.
Sophomore guard Nik Stauskas scored three points in the first half of Michigan's 82-80 overtime win over Florida State. And then he exploded for 23 in the second half and overtime, muscling his way to a fantastic finish and helping the Wolverines close out the win.
He didn't slow down Sunday evening, picking up right where he left off.
Michigan won the tip, and Stauskas hit a jumper from the free-throw line. In the game's opening minute, he hit that shot, recorded a steal on a Charlotte inbounds pass, drew two fouls and hit two free throws, leading the way for an early 4-0 lead for the Wolverines.
After the 49ers closed the gap with a three-point play - on which sophomore guard Caris LeVert picked up his second foul just two minutes into the game, which sent him to the bench - Stauskas drew his third foul of the game, hitting both free throws.
The Michigan defense continued its high-pressure stylings on the next trip down the court. Sophomore forward Glenn Robinson III got his hand on a pass, raced down the court and was fouled hard while going up for a dunk. He landed on his back, and he was visibly in pain, but he stayed on the court, hitting both free throws to become the first non-Stauskas Wolverine on the board.
Six of Michigan's first eight points came from the free-throw line, and the Wolverines started cold from the field, hitting just one of their first five attempts.
After intercepting a Charlotte pass at the top of the key, freshman point guard Derrick Walton, Jr., tried to find sophomore Mitch McGary inside, but the pass sailed high and out of bounds. Heading into the first TV timeout at 16:15, the Wolverines held an 8-7 lead.
Out of the timeout, Michigan missed its first three shots, and Charlotte guard Shawn Lester, the team's leading scorer, hit a deep three-pointer to give the 49ers their first lead of the game, 10-7.
The sloppiness continued on the next possession, with two offensive rebounds, three missed shots and a turnover, when freshman guard Zak Irvin inadvertently stepped out of bounds.
But the Wolverines settled down, getting a steal, and sophomore point guard Spike Albrecht found Stauskas in the corner - his favorite spot - in transition for an easy three. Fifth-year senior Jordan Morgan drew a charge on the next possession, and Stauskas made the most of it, with a drive and a reverse lay-up under the basket.
At the 13-minute mark, with Michigan trailing 15-13, Stauskas has 11 points and all three of the team's field goals.
He is putting the Wolverines on his back, while the majority of the team is cold from the floor - and that is something Michigan has been looking for in the early goings this season.
As Michigan's shooting woes continued, starting the game 3-of-19 from the floor, Charlotte found a little, going up 19-15 with just under 10 minutes to play. The Wolverines were helped by an 8-of-10 mark from the free throw line.
Inside the eight-minute mark, Albrecht missed a jumper, and Irvin misfired on a second-chance opportunity, bringing the Wolverines not named Stauskas to a combined 0-of-16 from the floor.
But the shooting slump ended on the next possession, when Albrecht cut into the lane and found an opening for a lay-in, cutting the Charlotte lead to 21-17.
McGary collected a steal on the other end, and threw it out in transition to Stauskas who was fouled and made the shot, following it up with the free throw to close the gap to 21-20.
At 5:23, McGary became just the fourth Wolverine on the board, drawing a shooting foul and making both shots.
The 49ers pushed their lead to 30-22 with just under four minutes to play, because Stauskas ended the mini-run with a long two-point jumper.
Albrecht ended the Wolverines' outside-shooting slump with a deep three-pointer with just over two minutes to play. A block by redshirt junior Jon Horford gave Michigan the ball back, but it could not capitalize.
Irvin, who had played most the first half after LeVert's early fouls, and started very cold, missing his first eight shots, including three three-point attempts. But he hit a big shot with just 10 seconds remaining, draining a deep three to pull Michigan within two, 32-30.
Charlotte hit a final three to make it 35-30.
Although the Wolverines had a disappointing shooting performance in the first half, it was encouraging that Michigan fought through it and put itself in position to win the game in the second.
In years past under Beilein, a shooting performance such as this one would have spelled doom for the Wolverines. But they have been physical drawing 10 fouls and shooting 13 free throws, hitting 11 of them.
Charlotte came out of the gates firing with a 7-0 run to open the half, while Walton, Robinson and LeVert clanged three-point attempts off the rim at the other end. The 49ers extending their lead to 42-32 with the run.
Morgan ended the run at the 15:50 point, taking a pass from LeVert and going strong to the hole.
After a Charlotte miss, Stauskas came down on the other end, found a lane and finished with another monster dunk, something he has done very frequently of late, to give the Wolverines a little momentum heading into the TV timeout. Charlotte held onto a 42-34 lead.
Both teams went cold, as the refs went to the monitors twice for extensive conversations about plays that slowed the game down.
LeVert woke up the crowd with an athletic flip of the ball under the basket, putting it in while getting fouled. On the next possession, he drove into the lane, jumped up and found Horford under the basket for an easy bucket, cutting Charlotte's lead to 42-38.
LeVert, who missed almost the entire first half because of two early fouls, helped the Michigan offense come alive in the second. After his and-one make and the assist to Horford, he hit a deep three-pointer, closing the game to 42-41, part of an 11-0 Michigan run. At this point, Charlotte had made just one of its last 15 field goal attempts.
Charlotte's Shawn Lester ended the run with a transition bucket. Just inside 10 minutes to go, Stauskas broke out in transition after a long rebound and was fouled, hitting both free throws. Stauskas appeared to roll his ankle on the play and came up limp and grimacing, but he stayed in the game.
With just over eight minutes to, Irvin hit a long two jumper, bringing his shooting total on the evening to 2-of-13 and cutting Charlotte's lead to 46-45.
Stauskas was limping throughout the rest of the game but did not check out.
With 6:12 to go, LeVert was fouled and hit both free throws to go up 47-46, Michigan's first lead since 8-7, just a few minutes into the first half.
After going 11 minutes without a field goal, Charlotte went on a quick 5-0 run, highlighted by a three-pointer from guard Ben Cherry. LeVert quelled the momentum with a running lay-up, but Charlotte answered with another three on the other end. With 3:39 to play, the Wolverines were down 54-49.
Morgan cut the lead to three with two foul shots with 3:30 to go.
With 1:57 to go, Michigan coach John Beilein called a timeout down 56-51.
Out of the timeout, LeVert drove nicely and put up a shot with a hand in his face. It sunk to close the lead to three, but Charlotte answered.
McGary hit his first field goal, taking a nice pass from LeVert in the lane and it in. Once again, Charlotte answered.
With 41 seconds to go, Irvin hit a huge three-point shot in the corner. He has had a very cold night, hitting just 3-of-14 from the field, but his three makes have been massive.
The shot cut the lead to 60-58 with under a minute to play.
Charlotte missed a free throw on the other end to give Michigan a chance, but LeVert's three-pointer rimmed out.
Charlotte missed the front end on the next trip, and Albrecht drew a foul with 14.1 seconds to go. He hit the first, intentionally missed the second, and Morgan tied up the ball - possession arrow Michigan. With 11 seconds to go, the Wolverines had one more chance to make it happen.
Beilein drew up a nice play to get McGary open in the lane, and he hit, but it left Charlotte with nine seconds. The 49ers flew down the court, missed an open look and finished with a putback.
With just 0.4 seconds left, the Wolverines were out of time - and leave Puerto Rico as runners up.