The Michigan Wolverines’ March magic continues, as they took down the No. 3 seed Tennessee Volunteers to advance to the Sweet 16, 76-68.
Here is how this one went down.
The Michigan offense started out red hot in this one, scoring 10 points just a few minutes in. The Wolverines had a 10-2 lead, but Tennessee cut the deficit to 10-8 right before the first media timeout.
Jones started off strong before getting taken to the locker room with a hand injury. Jones came back in not long after, but then got hit in the head inadvertently by Moussa Diabate and had to leave the game again. He came back in, but looked off. He finished the half with two points, three assists and three rebounds.
Hunter Dickinson was typical Hunter Dickinson in the first half. It didn’t even take 10 minutes for the sophomore big man to have eight points on 2-of-2 shooting from the field and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line. By the end of the half, he had 12 points, three rebounds, an assist and a steal.
It was back-and-forth on the scoreboard for much of the first half, but Tennessee began to pull away over the final few minutes. Michigan had a 30-24 lead, but the Volunteers went on a 13-2 run. A good chunk of Tennessee’s points were due to Michigan turning the ball over four straight times to end the half.
At the end of the first 20 minutes, Tennessee held a 37-32.
It was announced right before the second half started that Jones was ruled out for the rest of the game with what they were calling an illness. Collins started the second half at the point guard position.
But the beginning of the first half belonged to Dickinson. He scored Michigan’s first nine points of the half. It didn’t take long for the Wolverines to regain the lead thanks to his efforts, but the Volunteers weren’t going away. Led by freshman guard Kennedy Chandler and junior guard Josiah-Jordan James, Tennessee had a 57-54 lead midway through the second half.
But Michigan decided to go on a run of its own. There were two occasions where sophomore forward Terrance Williams gathered an offensive rebound and put it back for two points to tie the game.
Eli Brooks also shined late in this one when the Wolverines needed him the most. The fifth-year senior guard found open teammates regularly, while hitting jumpers and three-pointers alike. With the game tied at 62, he drew a foul on a made layup for an and-one opportunity with 3:21 left in the game, putting the Wolverines up by three.
Brooks turned the ball over on an inbounds, but made up for it not long after by channeling his inner Zavier Simpson with a skyhook to put Michigan up by four points. He also hit two clutch free throws to extend the lead to six.
Michigan will play the winner of the Villanova/Ohio State game in the Sweet 16 on Thursday in San Antonio. Villanova and OSU are set to tipoff at 2:40 p.m. Sunday afternoon.