Michigan slumps late, ends season with one-point loss to Vanderbilt

Michigan led Vanderbilt by eight points with one minute left on Saturday afternoon, only for Vanderbilt to score the final nine points.

The Wolverines lost 66-65, ending their season in the second round of the NIT.

Trailing by two starters and facing a huge early deficit on the road, Michigan fought back and put themselves in great position to advance.

Joey Baker’s field goal put the Wolverines ahead 65-57 with 1:45 left. They got a defensive save before Hunter Dickinson missed a layup just to the basket. Vanderbilt scored at the other end and deployed an all-court press that bewildered the visitors all the way.

On the final possession of the game, Dug McDaniel’s runner missed the rim, as did Dickinson’s spike attempt just before the buzzer sounded.

Michigan finished with an 18-16 record.

Jett Howard missed his second straight game with an ankle injury. Another starting guard, Kobe Bufkin, was also out with an ankle injury, the first game he missed this season.

Reserve guard Isaiah Barnes, who hasn’t played a game since January but may have been called up Saturday given Michigan’s injury situation, was unavailable due to a back injury. leg.

As a result, Michigan launched Dug McDaniel, Baker, Terrance Williams II, Youssef Khayat and Dickinson, a group that included three new faces from Michigan’s Big Ten Tournament game last week.

Injuries led to other unusual lineups. At one point, Williams played point guard alongside Baker, Jace Howard, Will Tschetter and Dickinson.

Vanderbilt scored 17 straight points to take a 17-5 lead, but Michigan responded with nine in a row and led by one at halftime.

Michigan gained up to 10 points in the second half but couldn’t hold.

Dickinson, a junior, finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds. McDaniel scored 19. Baker added 11.

Vanderbilt (22-14) advanced to the quarterfinals, which will be played Tuesday or Wednesday, and will host the winner of Sunday’s game between UAB and Morehead State.

Saturday marked a disappointing end to Juwan Howard’s fourth season as head coach. The Wolverines, ranked No. 22 in the AP preseason poll, failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. They beat Toledo in the NIT opener on Tuesday and had a good chance of getting a road win to continue their season. .

The Wolverines have two seniors, Baker and Jaelin Llewellyn. Baker will seek a sixth season and Llewellyn could seek a medical waiver after suffering a season-ending knee injury in Michigan’s Game 8. Jett Howard and Bufkin could leave for the NBA. Dickinson must also decide his future.

It was Dickinson who scored 11 straight goals for the Wolverines on Saturday to give them a 52-42 lead with 10:52 remaining. They kept control but couldn’t get away. A 3 from Vanderbilt’s Trey Thomas cut Michigan’s margin to 61-57 with 3:47 remaining.

The next basket came on McDaniel’s float off the glass. He took a charge on the other end, Baker hit a foul line jumper and Michigan was back eight with 1:45 left.

On Michigan’s next possession, Dickinson missed a layup. Vanderbilt ran the other way for a one-and-one from Tyrin Lawrence (21 points) to stay alive. Vanderbilt deployed a press all over the field. Williams returned the ball and fouled; the free throws got Vanderbilt in the three with 49 seconds left.

McDaniel then threw him out of bounds. A layup cut Michigan’s lead to one with 19 seconds left.

Michigan got the ball against a press but Williams couldn’t handle Dickinson’s pass, and Vanderbilt got another layup – after a goalie call on Dickinson that looked like a clean block.

In the bottom, Michigan entered with 12.5 seconds left. Even that wasn’t easy, but McDaniel eventually got into the lane for a contested shot. He missed, as did Dickinson’s return.

Michigan finished with 15 turnovers, including three in the final minute.

At first, Michigan seemed to be in serious trouble. Michigan led 5-0 but Vanderbilt scored the next 17 points, forcing Howard to call a timeout with 12:51 left after Colin Smith’s third 3. This gave him 11 points; he wouldn’t score anymore. Michigan responded with nine straight games, and McDaniel’s second 3 (and fourth field goal) tied the game at 20 with 9:21 left in the half. Two free throws from Williams gave Wolverines the lead with seven minutes remaining, and they were leading 30-29 at halftime.

They couldn’t hold on, struggling throughout the streak as they had in several tight losses this season.

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