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March 22, 2014

INSTANT RECAP: U-M Sweet 16 Bound again with 79-65 win

Texas didn't wait long to assert its dominance over Michigan on the boards, missing a putback on its first possession. Michigan's Nik Stauskas didn't hesitate to make his mark early, notching a three from the top off a screen to give the Wolverines a 3-0 lead on the way to a 79-65 win.

Box Score

Texas rallied to grab a 6-3 lead, but Stauskas answered again with a triple in transition to tie it at 15:15. The pace was slower early, in part because neither team shot extremely well. U-M got it going, though, with a LeVert triple from the top followed by a Walton jumper in transition.

The Wolverines were running, and Texas didn't seem interested in trying to keep pace on defense. Robinson III hit yet another Michigan triple at the 12:30 mark to make it 16-8.

The first TV timeout didn't occur until the 11:25 mark of the first half. The Longhorns had struggled to that point, making only five of 16 shots. They did corral three offensive rebounds, but U-M was decent on the glass. The Wolverines matched Texas with nine rebounds overall and were 4-for-8 from three-point range, led by Stauskas' pair.

Stauskas hit yet another triple coming out of the timeout to make it 19-10 when the Longhorns left him alone, and LeVert sent it to the second timeout at 21-10 with a free throw to come (which he'd make) after a finish and foul 10:35.

The Wolverines had outrebounded the bigger Longhorns 10-9 at that point.

Texas went to a zone after scoring inside, but freshman Zak Irvin busted it with a long three from the top. When LeVert drove and scored nearly uncontested on the next possession, Michigan was up 27-12 and still had no fouls. U-M still maintained a 12-10 advantage on the glass, and Stauskas and LeVert had combined for 17 of Michigan's 27 points.

Irvin scored his fourth through sixth coming out of the timeout to make it 30-12. The band played "Deep In The Heart of Texas" at that point, and TheWolverine.com Senior Editor John Borton boldly predicted that's where the Longhorns would be for the rest of the tournament.

Texas started crashing the glass at that point, but the Longhorns had to earn everything they got. Morgan gave U-M its biggest lead, 32-14, when he drove and was fouled, making two free throws. He made two more on the next trip to match a Texas drive and finish.

Robinson III came out of the next timeout on fire. He finished an alley-oop from Stauskas and hit a jumper on the next possession, but Texas heated up. The Longhorns cut it to 12, 38-26, on a pair of triples and an offensive rebound. U-M answered with a pick and roll slam from Stauskas, and LeVert added a three the next time down to push it back to 43-26 at 1:17, a solid answer to the mini-run. The half ended 43-30, though, on four straight Texas points.

LeVert led U-M with 11 points at the break, Stauskas had nine and Robinson III seven. Morgan added eight points and four rebounds. Texas had six offensive rebounds at the break, but Michigan's 53.6 percent three-point shooting (8-for-15 triples) kept them well ahead, and they only had two turnovers against 10 assists in the half.

SECOND HALF

Michgian started the second half the same way it started the first - with a triple. Walton Jr. scored after a LeVert miss to push the lead to 16 against Texas' 2-3 zone. Morgan then answered with a dunk following Holmes finish at the other end.

A second Walton triple followed a Javan Felix three and the lead remained 16 at 17:30. It would have been more, but the Wolverines couldn't convert six-footers after getting it inside Texas' zone.

Two Stauskas free throws made it 53-35 at 15:35. LeVert missed a chance to expand it, though, when he bricked two free throws.

Texas stayed in its zone, and the Wolverines went cold. The Longhorns made a run and cut it to 53-41 at 12:30 on a cut and finish by guard Isaiah Taylor. Morgan missed an easy one inside and Taylor cut it to 10 with a floater on the other end.

Stauskas went four straight possessions without a touch, and U-M called timeout. They went to him against Texas' 1-3-1 on the next possession and he tripled.

U-M couldn't keep the Longhorns off the offensive glass, however. Texas got second chance after second chance and cut it to nine with two Taylor free throws at 10:38. Taylor had 18 at that point and the Longhorns were at 16 offensive rebounds, 10 in the second half.

Stauskas drove but missed a dunk, and Texas was within eight on a Holmes free throw at 9:55. Robinson pushed it back to a 10-point edge with two free throws at 9:30. Stauskas missed a triple badly, and Texas pulled back within eight on a pair of free throws following yet another offensive rebound. Irvin turned it over on the inbound, and the Longhorns were within six when Taylor's floater connected seconds later.

Robinson, though, took over on offense. He answered with a huge drive and tough finish at 7:20 to make it an eight-point edge, and he tripled the next time down to expand it back to 11. It was 12 when freshman Spike Albrecht tripled from the corner at 6:10.

Texas, though, continued to make their free throws and hammer the boards. They had 13 offensive rebounds in the half at 5:34 and were 15-for-16 from the line - not bad for a 66 percent free throw shooting team.

Michigan missed a number of chances to put it away, and Texas pulled within eight again. But LeVert's huge triple at 2:40 pushed it back to 11. Taylor missed, Albrecht rebounded and Morgan was intentionally fouled at the other end, making both free throws. Albrecht followed with two more and it was 75-60 and all but over at 2:10.

U-M ended it at the free throw line to make the Sweet 16 for the second straight year.

Morgan finished with 15 points and nine rebounds in an outstanding showing. Stauskas led Michigan scorers with 16 points and added eight assists, Robinson and LeVert added 14 each and Walton scored eight.




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