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Michigan Wolverines 73, Indiana Hoosiers 69: IU comeback is too little, too late.

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Indiana allowed Michigan to expand a big lead in the second half, but then fought back to within three points in the final minute before Michigan finally closed the game.  Sudden hot shooting by IU, which had shown little on offense in the first 35 minutes, and the utter inability of Michigan to hit a free throw allowed a game that Michigan led by 22 with five minuted remaining to somehow go down to the wire.  From the 5:10 mark until Matt Roth missed a three pointer in the final minute, IU made 8-9 field goals and missed only one free throw.  During the same stretch, Michigan did not make a field goal, shot 5-14 from the line, and turned the ball over five times.  Roth and Jordan Hulls missed makeable three pointers in the closing seconds, and Michigan finally pulled it together from the line, and that was it.  As with several other performances this season, IU has managed to make an out-of-hand game respectable, but where was that defensive effort in the first 35 minutes?  The turnovers reared their head again, against a team that does not typically force turnovers (10 for IU in the first half).  Neither team did much offensively in the first half, but Michigan found its three point stroke in the second half and held a double digit lead for the entire second half until the final two minutes.

Individual performances of note:

  • Jordan Hulls scored 10 on 4-9 shooting, but was 0-4 from three point range.  He also had an uncharacteristic 4 turnovers. 
  • Victor Oladipo scored 13 points on 5-7/3-4.  At one point, his breakaway dunks were IU's only offense. 
  • In his return from injury, Christian Watford looked a little rusty but scored 14 points on 6-10 shooting, 2-4 from deep.  He didn't go inside much, but it's nice to see that he still has a shooting stroke despite the wrap on his broken left hand.
  • Jeremiah Rivers had a rough game, fouling out and being baited into a technical by Zach Novak. 
  • Verdell Jones III looked bad for much of the day, but was 8-12 from the line. 

Well, IU's NIT hopes went from slim to slimmer with this loss.  The Hoosiers now have a week off before hosting Northwestern on Saturday.  IU's last long layoff was before the 19-point home win over Michigan, and hopefully the team will be able to rally.