The Crisler Center was rocking tonight as the Michigan Wolverines hosted Syracuse for the 2014 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Spike Albrecht nailed a deep three-point jumper with 30.6 seconds to play that snapped a 63-63 tie. It was enough to help Michigan hold on to beat the Orange 68-65.
The night belonged to Albrecht, who made highlight plays and finished with 11 points and nine assists. Just a few minutes into the second half, Spike dished a “SCTopTen” nominated behind-the-back pass to Ricky Doyle who dunked the ball as he was fouled. Albrecht showed once again tonight that he can, and will, show up in big games.
Doyle had another big night for the Wolverines finishing with 12 points and six rebounds. What’s more impressive is it came against experienced Syracuse star Rakeem Christmas. Doyle found a way to out body on the glass, which is a huge sign of development for the young freshman
Michigan trailed during different stretches of the game, but continued to find a way to fight back, and go on runs to swing the momentum and gain back the advantage. After leading by nine with just over seven minutes to play, the Orange stormed back after two back-to-back three pointers from guard Trevor Cooney.
Syracuse tied the game with just under a minute to play, and had a couple of chances to take the lead after Albrecht’s huge shot with 30 seconds left on the clock. The next possession Michael Gbinije scored on a circus shot to bring the Orange within one point. After Derrick Walton missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, Syracuse turned the ball over on an outlet pass with 15.4 seconds to play. Caris LeVert then had a chance at the line, but also failed to sink the first free throw. Syracuse took the ball down the court, only to turn it over again. LeVert buried two free throws, giving Syracuse one last shot to tie the contest, but freshman Kaleb Joseph came up short on a three point shot at the buzzer.
Michigan narrowly escaped, but improve to 6-1 on the season. The young team still has a lot to learn, but a win against Jim Boeheim’s tough zone defense should boost the confidence of Squad 99.
Michigan team leaders…
Points: Zak Irvin, 18
Rebounds: Kam Chatman, 8
Assists: Spike Albrecht, 9
Syracuse team leaders…
Points: Trevor Cooney, 16
Rebounds: Chris McCullough, 12
Assists: Chris McCullough, 3
Michigan will host N.J.I.T., December 6th at Crisler Center.
Derek Devine is a contributing blogger for TBHR. Follow him on Twitter here!