In a back-and-forth game, the Michigan Wolverines came just short of a top-5 upset, falling to the No. 3 ranked Virginia Cavaliers 70-68 in the final ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The Wolverines found themselves in a quick seven point hole, in no small part due to making just one of their first six shots. Once they got hot though, they got boiling — converting a six shot hot streak into a two point lead midway through the half.
After swelling their lead to as much as eight, Michigan weathered pushback from the Cavaliers, going shot-for-shot in a sequence that seemed stuck between a four and six margin in the Wolverines’ favor. Ultimately however, Michigan finally broke through the logjam to end the half, firing on all cylinders to take a double digit lead with them into the locker room.
Statistically, Hunter Dickinson led the Wolverines in both scoring and rebounding, finishing the half with 14 points on 7-for-10 shooting and four rebounds. Jett Howard wasn’t far behind however, putting up 11 points and a pair of rebounds of his own.
While the end of the first half saw Virginia on the wrong end of a hot streak, the start of the second was all Cavaliers. After missing their first shot of the half, Virginia buried their next six shots, to which Michigan only countered just enough to maintain a slim two-point lead through the first media timeout.
The Cavaliers’ comeback bid came to a temporary halt shortly after resumption, as an injury to guard Reece Beekman put Virginia down their top scorer for just over two minutes of in-game action. The Wolverines were unable to pull away offensively with Beekman out however, and a bizarre technical foul on Dickinson allowed the Cavaliers to keep the game at two possessions with 12 minutes to go.
The next five minutes of action were heavily in the favor of Virginia, as Michigan saw five straight possessions end in a turnover. In the end, the Cavaliers took the lead back with seven minutes to go, and while the Wolverines kept it back and forth through the final minutes, their effort came just short.
Dickinson finished as the game leader for the Wolverines in every major category, notching a 23/7/2 slash line.
The Wolverines will travel across the Atlantic to play in the Basketball Hall of Fame London Showcase, where they’ll face the Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday, December 4th.