Connect with us

Sports

Michigan defeats LSU 86-78 in a Big Ten comeback.

Published

on

Michigan defeats LSU 86-78 in a Big Ten comeback.
google news
Michigan defeats LSU 86-78 in a Big Ten comeback.

Michigan defeats LSU 86-78 in a Big Ten comeback.

 

Someone, everyone, from the Big Ten needed to start playing like they belonged there.

The conference is already a part of March Madness thanks to Michigan.

The top-seeded Wolverines, who were longer, broader, and deeper than LSU, gradually wore down the Tigers. In a nail-biting 86-78 win, they got 21 points each from Eli Brooks and Chaundee Brown Jr., giving the conference some hope in the NCAA Tournament.

Maryland had lost to Alabama by the time coach Juwan Howard and his team returned to the hotel after their second-round game, leaving the Wolverines as the only remaining Big Ten team from the nine that had traveled to Indianapolis.

Even if they can’t change what’s happened to the rest of the league, Michigan’s Big Ten experience came in handy in this game, as the Wolverines (22-4) trailed by nine points early and had to fight to stay in the game.

“To be frank, that is the Big Ten test,” Brooks said. “Every night, we are put to the test.”

The Wolverines used the biggest surge of the game — a 14-1 run halfway through the second half — to break away and save face for a conference that had otherwise tanked these four days in Indianapolis.

The Wolverines advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive season, where they will face No. 4 Florida State next weekend. They’ll be the only hope for a conference that has already lost everyone from the top seed (Illinois), to the second-seeded Ohio State, to the 11th-seeded Michigan State, a perennial force that was eliminated in the play-in round.

Brooks explained, “I mean, it’s March Madness for a cause.” “Everyone is going to give you their best shot. I always believe that the Big Ten is a fantastic meeting. We’ve recently suffered some setbacks.”

After the Wolverines took a one-point lead into halftime, this game saw huge momentum swings: LSU went on an 8-0 run early, Michigan went on a 10-0 run, and the Tigers went on another 5-0 run.

Michigan, on the other hand, did what traditional Big Ten teams are expected to do during the 14-1 run that got things going. Even without injured guard Isaiah Livers, they were able to use height and shooting to wear down a smaller, less-deep opponent.

Points off the bench were the most telling stat of the night: Michigan 26, LSU 2.

LSU coach Will Wade said, “They’re a tremendous, tremendous team.” “Coach Howard and his staff, their offensive execution, the way they moved, the way they defended, they’re a great squad. They’re going to be incredibly difficult to beat.”

Brown, a 6-foot-5 guard, caused the most long-term harm, making six free throws and a 3-pointer during the decisive stretch that gave Michigan a 72-64 lead with 5:55 remaining.

Then LSU’s defense was shut down by 7-1 freshman Hunter Dickenson (12 points, 11 rebounds) and 6-9 projected first-round NBA pick Franz Wagner (15 and seven).

Cameron Thomas of LSU went from illuminating Michigan to barely getting a shot off. He scored 30 points, but only after taking 23 shots and going 3 for 10 in the second half.

One of the misses was based on a Dickenson rejection, and Javonte Smart suffered the same fate moments later. Wagner’s 27 points held LSU in the game late in the second half, but he changed his shot underneath at the end.

On the other hand, the Tigers (19-10) shot 39 percent from the field and didn’t have many responses. Michigan made 10 of 25 3-pointers and shot 53%.

Even though the Tigers lost, the majority of this game must have had bracket watchers around the country scratching their heads.

Nobody with eyes and a cable sports bundle would have guessed Loyola Chicago, which defeated Illinois by a score of 13 on Sunday, was a No. 8 seed. LSU had obviously better talent than the eighth-seeded team.

But Michigan looked like a legitimate No. 1, especially after Howard began slamming the table, removing his mask, and asking for a defensive effort that was sorely lacking, particularly in the first few minutes. Thomas scored 12 points in the first eight minutes, none of which came from within the 15-foot line.

Things changed until the Wolverines began protecting the perimeter. They began to resemble a Big Ten team once more. And the Big Ten’s prospects seemed to be much brighter than they had been just a few hours before.

“Today’s slogan was ‘Empty the tank, Empty the tank.’ And our guys took care of it,” Howard said. “Unfortunately, the teams that did not advance had earned the right to be here and participate in this competition. But we only consider what we can influence.”

UPDATE ON INJURIES

Livers is out with a stress fracture in his foot, and when Howard was asked about his condition for next weekend, he was blunt: “It’s over indefinitely.”

STREAK OF SUGAR

The Wolverines have the second-longest active streak with four Sweet 16 appearances, behind Gonzaga’s six.

google news

Trending