When the tough got going, and Moritz Wagner went down, Michigan needed someone to answer the call late when the game got close.
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman was there to pick it up.
With a pair of clutch shots down the stretch and a team-high 17 points, the senior led the Wolverines to a hard-fought 59-52 win against Texas on Tuesday night from the Frank Erwin Center.
The win moves U-M on to 9-3 (1-1 Big Ten) this season, giving them their first notable road victory of the season.
How it happened
The game started slow on both ends, but U-M picked up four early fouls and trailed the Longhorns 2-0 in the opening minutes.
U-M would respond with a 14-4 run, lead by a pair of triples from Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson to hold an eight-point lead with 7:53 left in the opening half.
Texas would begin to find some offense with a Mo Bamba corner 3-ball, but the Wolverines answered with a pair of nice finishes from Moritz Wagner and Abdur-Rahkman to hold a 24-16 advantage with 3:55 left in the half.
Transfer guard Charles Matthews would come to life in the closing minutes of the first half by converting the final six points for the Wolverines, leading to a 32-20 halftime lead.
Texas shot just over 30 percent (7-of-23) from the floor in the first half, while going just 1-of-9 from beyond the arc and turning the ball over six times.
U-M on the other hand, cleaned up a slow start to shoot 51.9 percent (14-of-27) from the field and only turned it over four times while out-rebounding the Longhorns 20-12 (17-10 defensively).
Abdur-Rahkman led the Wolverines with nine points.
To open the second half, the Longhorns started to turn the tide in their favor.
An alley-oop to Bamba highlighted an 8-3 run to open the second half for Texas, forcing a timeout from U-M head coach John Beilein as his team led 35-28.
After seven straight missed 3-pointers for U-M, Wagner and Matthews would hit a pair of triples from the same corner followed by another Wagner triple in transition to give U-M a 46-34 lead and force a Shaka Smart timeout with 11:59 remaining.
The Wolverines continued to pour it on UT with a Matthews and sophomore guard Zavier Simpson converting layups to take a 50-36 lead under the eight minute mark.
Then Wagner rolled his ankle, forcing him to the locker room, and UT started to cut into the lead. The Longhorns went on a 7-0 run, cutting U-M’s lead to 50-43 with 6:06 to play.
Abdur-Rahkman would get a friendly bounce on a bank shot from beyond the arc to go down, giving U-M a 53-43 lead with 3:11 to go.
Again, Abdur-Rahkman would answer the bell with a contested layup as the shot clock counted down, giving Michigan an eight-point lead with under a minute to go and eventually a comfortable finish.
Outside of Abdur-Rahkman, three other Wolverines finished in double figures. Matthews had 12 points and eight rebounds, while Wagner and Robinson both finished with 10 tallies.
The Wolverines out-rebounded the Longhorns 40-31 (10-6 off., 30-25 def.) and outscored UT 26-24 in the paint while holding them to 36.5 percent shooting from the floor and 25 percent (5-of-20) from deep.
U-M themselves finished the game cold, shooting just 40 percent from the field and 31.6 percent (6-of-19) from 3-point distance.
Next, the Wolverines will head to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit for a meeting with in-state opponent Detroit Mercy on Saturday, Dec. 16, at noon.
- Wagner left the game after rolling his ankle and was ruled out for the game by the U-M training staff, his status is unknown but he did return to the bench after heading to the locker room.
- Simpson played 26 minutes at the point for U-M, freshman point guard Eli Brooks totaled 14 minutes and transfer guard Jaaron Simmons did not play for the first time this season.
- Both teams had 62 possessions in the game and each had 10 turnovers.
- U-M shot 75 percent from the free throw line (9-of-12), with a free throw percentage of 62.7 coming into play.