NCAA Roundup: Michigan magic continues
INDIANAPOLIS—Michigan roommates Moritz Wagner and D.J. Wilson have quite different backgrounds, but the Wolverines' starting forwards provided a unified, winning front on Sunday inNCAA Tournament Midwest Regional second-round action.
Wagner, a sophomore from Berlin, Germany, scored a career-high 26 points, and No. 7 seed Michigan rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to stun No. 2 seed Louisville 73-69 in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Wilson, who is from Sacramento, Calif., scored 17 points, including four consecutive free throws during the final 17.3 seconds to send the Big Ten tournament champions into a Sweet 16 date Thursday night against No. 3 Oregon in Kansas City.
The victory was a bit of revenge for the Wolverines (26-11), who were beaten 82-76 by Louisville in the 2013 NCAA Tournament championship.
Michigan, which also got 11 points from Zak Irvin and 10 from Derrick Walton Jr., shot 63 percent in the second half (17 of 27).
"I feed off Mo," said Wilson, who scored 11 second-half points. "It helps make me confident knowing that everyone wants me shooting free throws late in the game."
Wagner said the Wolverines were well prepared for Louisville's defensive challenges.
"We have been working on their switching defenses," said Wagner, who was 11 of 14 from the field. "I was able to work well in the post. I really just let the game come to me."
Donovan Mitchell led Louisville with 19 points, and Deng Adel added 16 for the Cardinals, who finished 25-9.
Michigan used an 8-2 burst that included 3-pointers from Wagner and Walton, and a Wagner layup to lead 63-57 with 4:36 to play before a Mitchell basket got Louisville back within 63-59.
A Mangok Mathiang layup with 15:58 remaining extended Louisville's lead to 45-36, but Michigan countered with a 10-4 run to close within 49-46 with 11:23 on the clock.
Louisville closed the first half on an 8-0 run to seize a 36-28 lead through 20 minutes. Mitchell and Adel each hit a 3-pointer, and Adel sank two free throws with 9.1 seconds remaining to create the Cardinals' eight-point halftime cushion.
Michigan coach John Beilein said the way his team reacted to the final minute of the first half may have been the game's key.
"That was the defining moment," Beilein said. "A younger, less mature team may have let that rattle them.
"The way we have been shooting 3-pointers lately, people have been sticking with our shooters, and that opened things up for Moritz and D.J. to operate in the post."
Michigan made only six 3-pointers in 17 attempts after making 16 in Friday's first-round victory against Oklahoma State but compensated with roommates Wagner and Wilson combining for 43 points on 17 of 27 field-goal shooting.
"We simply made too many poor switches on defense in the second half," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "They are a right-hand dominant team, and we gave them the right hand too often. Moving forward, we have to get better defensively."
Cardinals center Mathiang said Michigan is difficult to guard.
"They have been shooting the 3s so well that we had to get out on their shooters," Mathiang said. "We we did a poor job with our switching, Wagner got loose in the post."
Adel had 10 first-half points, and Mitchell added eight. Louisville shot 41.9 percent (13 of 31) and outrebounded Michigan in the opening half, 24-16, including 10 offensive rebounds.
Wagner had nine first-half points for the Wolverines, who shot only 36.7 percent (11 of 30) during the first 20 minutes.
Oregon 75, Rhode Island 72
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Tyler Dorsey drained a 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining to help third-seeded Oregon advance to the Sweet 16 with a dramatic 75-72 victory over 11th-seeded Rhode Island on Sunday in a Midwest Regional game at the Golden 1 Center.
Dorsey scored 27 points for Oregon (31-5), which will face seventh-seeded Michigan on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo. Dillon Brooks had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Ducks.
Stanford Robinson came off the bench to score 21 points for Rhode Island (25-10), which was making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1999. Jared Terrell had 15 points, and E.C. Matthews added 13.
North Carolina 72, Arkansas 65
GREENVILLE, S.C.—North Carolina saw its season flash before its collective eyes, and the Tar Heels did everything they could to make sure they would play another day.
Top-seeded North Carolina scored the final 12 points to beat eighth-seeded Arkansas 72-65 and avoid an upset Sunday night in the NCAA Tournament's second round at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
"We finally stopped them a couple times and made plays," North Carolina forward Justin Jackson said. "Our season was on the line. ... It was just believing. Believing we can win."
Isaiah Hicks scored six of the points in the winning spurt, sending North Carolina to the Sweet 16 for the 22nd time since 1985. The Tar Heels eliminated the Razorbacks in the second round for the second time in three seasons and third time overall (also in 2008).
North Carolina (29-7) will play fourth-seeded Butler in the South Region's semifinals on Friday night in Memphis, Tenn.
Kansas 90, Michigan State 70
TULSA, Okla.—Kansas made it through the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament and picked up a head of steam in the process.
The No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, the Jayhawks gained an edge late in the first half against ninth-seeded Michigan State and raced past the Spartans late on the way to a 90-70 victory on Sunday at the BOK Center.
The Jayhawks (30-4) had plenty of support from their fans in Tulsa, and now they will move even closer to home as they advance to play fourth-seeded Purdue in a regional semifinal on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.
Guard Josh Jackson led Kansas with 23 points. Guard Frank Mason III added 20 points and five assists, and guard Devonte' Graham had 18 points and four assists.
Baylor 82, USC 78
TULSA, Okla.—Baylor finally subdued the upstart USC Trojans.
The third-seeded Bears overcame a four-point deficit late in the second half and ousted 11th-seeded USC 82-78 in second-round NCAA Tournament East Region action Sunday night at the BOK Center.
Guard Manu Lecomte scored eight straight points to take the Bears from a two-point hole to a six-point lead with 3:55 left, and Baylor held on.
The Bears (27-7) advance to the Sweet 16 to face the Duke-South Carolina winner in a regional semifinal on Friday at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Kentucky 65, Wichita State 62
INDIANAPOLIS—Kentucky's Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo combined for 27 points and 12 rebounds on Sunday, but it wasn't until each delivered a clutch blocked shot in the final 11 seconds that the No. 2 seed Wildcats earned a South Regional Sweet 16 berth.
Monk, the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, blocked Markis McDuffie's potential game-winning shot, then sank two free throws with 10.6 seconds remaining, and Adebayo blocked Landry Shamet's 3-point attempt just ahead of the buzzer, giving Kentucky a 65-62 victory against No. 10 seed Wichita State in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
"I was just playing straight-up defense," Monk said of his block on McDuffie. "We knew we couldn't foul. I was just playing solid. I just contested well."