In what was a fitting end to a season full of late game collapses, the Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team couldn’t hold onto a double digit lead late in the second half, coughing up a 66-65 victory to the Vanderbilt Commodores in the second round of the 2023 National Invitation Tournament.
Here’s how it all went down.
After scoring the first five points of the game, the Wolverines went ice cold — allowing the Commodores to score 17 unanswered points and sprint out to a 12-point cushion. The scoring run didn’t spook Michigan, however, as in just under two minutes the Wolverines brought the game back to a single possession after scoring nine unanswered points.
After the two massive scoring runs for both sides, the pace of the game largely settled into a back and forth affair, with neither team taking more than a three-point lead headed into the final minute of play. Ultimately, Hunter Dickinson provided the two-ball that gave his squad the lead headed into the locker room — ending the half’s scoring at 30-29.
Statistically, Dug McDaniel led the team’s scoring efforts at the half with 13 points, while Dickinson grabbed the most rebounds at the half with six.
The back and forth pace continued into the opening minutes of the second half, as both teams again failed to take more than a one-score lead through the first media timeout. Coming out of the break, however, Michigan finally found a groove — going on a 16-5 run to push the lead to double digits with 11 minutes to go.
Though the Wolverines kept their lead at a steady margin for most of the late goings, the final five minutes saw a resurgence from Vanderbilt that brought the Commodores back within four points. Ultimately, a sheer comedy of errors by Michigan in the final minute ended in a turnover and goaltending call with 12 seconds to go, giving Vanderbilt a one-point lead. The Wolverines had the final shot, but McDaniel was unable to put a last chance layup, giving Vanderbilt the victory.
Statistically, Dickinson finished as both scoring and rebounds leader with 21 and 11, respectively.
That’s all folks! The Wolverines will return in the fall for the 2023-24 season. Thank you for following along this year here at Maize n Brew. See you in November!