The Michigan Wolverines dropped another close one on the road today, this time by way of a 70-67 defeat to the Indiana Hoosiers. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had a chance to send the game into overtime at the the end of regulation, but his three-point attempt fell just short.
Indiana was able to get into the lane very easily all day, and the Wolverines really struggled with sliding and playing help defense. Nobody on Michigan’s squad could guard James Blackmon, who had an easy twelve points in the first half, including a three-pointer in transition that gave Indiana a 32-23 lead with two minutes to play.
Michigan struggled to find offensive production, but Mark Donnal, who had been out with a sickness for a couple of games, provided a first half spark for the Wolverines with seven points in just a few minutes.
Ricky Doyle had a solid first half as well, drawing contact and getting to line, finishing the half with seven points and three rebounds. He finished the game with 15 points.
At the break, Michigan trailed, 36-29.
Michigan knew that if they wanted to close the gap, they would need to attack the rim on offense and protect the rim at the defensive end. They finally shifted into gear offensively, and started to deliver a few jabs to the Hoosiers.
During a small scoring streak, MAAR found Aubrey Dawkins for an alley-oop, one of only a few highlight-type plays this season. Indiana seemed to push harder after every little Michigan run, and the Wolverines could not seem to put together a string of stops.
Zak Irvin had a great second half, and a solid game overall. He attacked the basket, and avoided forcing up terrible shots. If Zak Irvin can consistently play well like he did today, Michigan might be able to do some damage late in the Big Ten.
Indiana turned up the defensive pressure, and Michigan missed seven shots in a row during a near five-minute drought. Again however, the Wolverines found a way to recover and claw back into the contest.
Spike Albrecht drove in and finished an and-1 opportunity with his left hand to make it one possession game at 65-62 with a minute to go. Michigan was desperate for a stop with 40 seconds to play, but Troy Williams flushed down a vicious jam.
Zak Irvin answered as he hit a huge triple to make it a two-point game with 18 seconds to play. Michigan then sent Collin Hartman to the line, who hit only one of his two free-throws.
Michigan had a chance to tie at the end of regulation, but couldn’t find a great look from deep until MAAR had a chance to tie it at the buzzer from the corner. The shot fell short, and the Hoosiers proved victorious in this one.
Michigan Team Leaders
Points: Zak Irvin — 23
Assists: Spike Albrecht— 7
Rebounds: Ricky Doyle — 6
Indiana Team Leaders
Points: Troy Williams — 20
Assists: Yogi Ferrell — 6
Rebounds: Troy Williams — 8
Michigan will travel to the State Farm Center Thursday, February 12, where they will face the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Derek Devine is a contributor for TBHR and can be followed on Twitter here, @TheDerekDevine.