Not only did Jordan Morgan play, he pitched in what had to be the most productive half of his career in the opening 20 minutes, scoring eight points and reeling in six boards--could you expect anything else from him on Senior Night?
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the defense couldn't keep Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey (who ended his season with a nice run of productivity) in check. The Hoosiers dropped a whopping 42 points on the already-Big-Ten-champion Wolverines. When you shoot 70 percent from inside the arc as a team, that'll happen.
As for Michigan, they reeled in 41 percent of their misses in the first half, partially making up for a 27.3 percent mark from three.
If Michigan could get its outside shot to fall while locking down at least one of the Sheehey-Ferrell duo in the second half, a win seemed likely, even a defensive half as ghastly as that one was.
But, Michigan took control early on in the second half, tying the game at 48 before the first media timeout and overwhelming Indiana with offense from all over the floor. Meanwhile, on the other end, Indiana traveled on consecutive possessions (the second forced by the always dependable Morgan's show on help defense). As bad as the first half way, at least Michigan's defense seemed to be tightening up a bit and feeding off of both its own offensive success (buckets=the best transition killer there is) and Indiana's miscues. Indiana committed just one turnover in the first 15 minutes of the game, but five in the next 10.
Glenn Robinson III buried a jumper just under the 16:00 mark, giving the Wolverines their first lead since it was 9-7. Nik Stauskas then sank three free throws after being fouled shooting a trey and Michigan drew a charge after throwing the 1-3-1 at the Hoosiers.
Robinson converted a layup and the Hoosiers missed a couple of bunnies in the paint; with Michigan's lead up to five, the Wolverines seemed poised to start to run away with the game.
However, after a loose ball situation in which Spike Albrecht had the ball ripped away from him, Stanford Robinson completed a three-point play in transition to cut Indiana's deficit to two.
Out of the second media timeout, a pair of Jon Horford free throws and a slick Stauskas dish to a wide open Morgan in the paint for a dunk upped the lead to six with 11:33 left to play. He notched a double-double with a tough offensive rebound shortly thereafter; needless to say, it was a fitting sendoff for the senior.
IU rallied with five unanswered points but, guess who, Morgan finished an and-1 opportunity at the rim, continuing his outstanding Senior Night performance. The senior had 15 points (tied for a season high) and nine rebounds with over eight minutes to play.
Michigan pushed the lead to 11, threatening to blow the doors off the Hooisers down the stretch. But, once again, IU punched back with a 9-0 run, including a Troy Williams dunk and another Ferrell snipe from downtown.
The Wolverines were on cruise control for a long time; now they had to get things back into gear for final two and a half minutes.
IU kept pushing, eventually tying it after a Williams put-back slam and another Robinson bucket in transition. Michigan needed an answer.
On the next set, they got it. Stauskas found an open Robinson in the corner, who calmly sank a clutch triple. IU responded with two passes and a Stanford Robinson missed three, and Michigan then extended the lead to five at the line.
IU's Noah Vonleh gave Michigan a scare by burying a three with 4.2 seconds remaining to cut Michigan's lead to two. But, Michigan's Mississaugan closed the door, burying a pair of free throws to effectively end the game.
And so, Michigan's regular season comes to an end, as does Jordan Morgan's career in the Crisler Center. Without his 15 and 10, Michigan would not have won this game.
After a rocky start, this became a season to remember. Make one final salute to your outright 2013-14 Big Ten regular season champions.
Now, the real fun begins.