NCAA Tournament 2018: Michigan outlasts Houston to make Sweet 16

Jordan Poole’s 3-pointer as time expired carried the Michigan men’s basketball team to the Sweet 16.

Poole’s shot at the buzzer lifted Michigan to a 64-63 win over Houston in a second-round game in the 2018 NCAA Tournament on Saturday in Wichita, Kan.

WHY MICHIGAN WON:

Michigan’s shooting was cold in the early goings of the second-round game, going 0-for-6 from the floor, including five 3-point attempts. Jon Teske scored Michigan’s only point in that stretch on a free throw less than three minutes into the game.

Everyone looked towards Houston point guard Rob Gray, but forward Breaon Brady set the tone in the opening moments with a strong inside presence for the Cougars. However, the Cougars and the Wolverines struggled to score points, and went a combined 19 for 62 from the floor in the first half.

Devin Davis’ free throws for Houston tied the game at 28-28 with 1:55 left in the first half, but both Michigan and Houston struggled to sink shots. Michigan went without a successful shot from the floor for a stretch nearly 4 1/2 minutes in the first half, while Houston closed the half on a scoring drought of more than four minutes.

Houston opened its lead to 49-43 as Gray hit back-to-back 3-pointers nine minutes into the second half, and led 51-46 until Michigan tied the game with a 5-point swing with 5:41 left. Michigan went 8 for 8 on free throws in a span of nearly two minutes to take a 57-54 lead, but Armoni Brooks’ 3-pointer tied the game with 2:56 left.

Devin Davis missed a pair of free throws for Houston with 3.6 seconds left, but Poole’s leaping 3-pointer lifted the Wolverines to a dramatic finish.

WHAT IT MEANS: Michigan extends its win streak to 11 games, a run that dates back to Feb. 11, and advances to the Sweet Sixteen.

WHO STARRED: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 12 points for Michigan. Duncan Robinson added 11 points for Michigan, including a pair of early 3-pointers. Robinson also established a necessary inside presence against Houston, a team that was aggressive underneath the basket.

WHO STUMBLED: In the early goings, Moritz Wagner struggled to find his rhythm in the early goings against Houston. Wagner scored 12 points, but scored only two points in 14 minutes. Still he shrugged off his early struggles. Wagner hit a 3-pointer 2:30 into the second half that cut Houston’s lead to 32-31, then helped the Wolverines take a 33-32 lead on a 3-pointer seconds later.

Wagner, however, took his third foul about six minutes into the second half, then his fourth with 8:43 left.

WHO IS NEXT: Michigan faces either Texas A&M or North Carolina in a Sweet Sixteen game Thursday in Los Angeles.

BOX SCORE:

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