Another top ten test awaited the No. 5 Michigan Wolverines on Saturday afternoon when they hosted No. 10 Oregon at Crisler Center. The Ducks would leave 71-70 winners in overtime in one of the most exciting games we’ve seen this year despite the Wolverines going down big early.
Franz Wagner led the team in scoring with 21 points, while David DeJulius and Isaiah Livers chipped in with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Oregon’s Payton Prichard led all scorers with 23 points.
The first half was a nightmare to start for the Wolverines. Their shooting woes from the other night in Champaign returned and at one point, it looked like they were going to get run out of their own building in the first 20 minutes of play. After taking the lead at 3-0 on a Franz Wagner three-pointer, Oregon would outscore them 25-6 and would lead by as much as 16 points in the first half. With everyone playing poorly and making bad shot decisions, Juwan Howard went to his bench on a near-full line change that saw him insert DeJulius and Brandon Johns into the lineup. The play of those two provided a much-needed offensive spark in the case of DeJulius and a rebounding and energy spark from Johns. DeJulius’ 12 first half points helped Michigan get the deficit down to six at 29-23 before a Peyton Prichard jump shot sent the Ducks into the locker room up eight points at 31-23.
Michigan would continue to stay hot to start the second half. Howard elected to run his starters back out there despite their first half struggles and it was Livers who put the team on his back. After not scoring in the first half, his entire output came in the second chapter of play and Michigan would get the deficit down to three at 47-44 with just under 11 minutes to play in the game. The Wolverines would re-take their first lead since the opening bucket of the game on a three from Wagner to set the score at 51-48 with just under eight minutes to go. Both teams would trade blows throughout the stretch run and Oregon would head into the under-4 timeout with a 56-55 lead. The two teams were tied at 63 in the waning moments of the game when it appeared that Anthony Mathis may have drained a three from near mid-court at the buzzer, but the shot was overturned and we would head to overtime from there.
It would be more of the same during the overtime period with Michigan striking first on a Wagner three-pointer. Oregon held a 69-68 lead with 1:30 to play in the overtime period and 71-68 with 45 seconds to go. With the Wolverines down 71-70, the officials overturned a call on an inbounds that would have went to Oregon to give Michigan possession down one with 34 seconds to play. The Wolverines had a shot at the win at the buzzer with the shot clock off but couldn’t get the look they wanted and would lose by a score of 71-70.
Michigan will be off for a week before taking on Presbyterian on Dec. 21 at home in another noon tipoff. They will have another eight days off after that and finish non-conference play at home vs. UMass-Lowell on Dec. 29 before the opening the full conference run of games at Michigan State on Jan. 5.