The Michigan Wolverines walked out of Charlotte, North Carolina with another heartbreaking loss in the Jumpman Invitational, losing in double overtime to the Florida Gators, 106-101.
In the last real non-conference test for the Wolverines, beating Florida was a must to get a strong win and a confidence boost before they get into mainly Big Ten play in January.
The game started sloppy for both teams, as the Gators shot 2-of-8 from the field through the first three minutes and Michigan shot 1-of-3. Most of the Wolverines’ scoring early and throughout the half came off the hands of Dug McDaniel, who scored or assisted on Michigan’s first 13 points (11 points, 4-for-4 from the field, one assist).
Florida, on the other hand, shot 0-of-5 from three-point range and 3-of-12 from the field through six minutes.
After a few minutes, Florida started to shoot the ball better. Walter Clayton Jr., the Gators leading scorer coming into the game averaging over 16 points per game, broke his 1-for-5 start by hitting a big three-pointer to bring the deficit to one point at the under-eight timeout.
For the next eight minutes, the teams would go back and forth, making some big shots and turning the ball over a lot. Jaelin Llewellyn hit his first three-point attempt, Micah Handlogten scored four unanswered points, and Terrance Williams II scored seven straight points of his own to tie the score, 35-35, with two minutes remaining in the half.
As Michigan led 37-35 with just a few seconds left in the first half, Zyon Pullin hit a mid-court buzzer-beating three to put the Gators up, 38-37.
The Wolverines shot 50 percent from the field and from three, tallied nine turnovers and McDaniel led all scorers with 15. Florida shot 40 percent, had eight turnovers, and Condon led his team with 10 points.
The second half started much hotter for the Wolverines than the first. After scoring just four points in the first four minutes of the first half, Michigan went on a 14-8 run through the first four minutes of the second half, led by Williams (five points), Nimari Burnett (four points) and Tarris Reed Jr (three points). On the other side, however, Tyrese Samuel scored six of Florida’s eight points to start the half to keep the score within five.
The next four minutes were another shootout, with the Wolverines shooting 7-for-8 from the field and the Gators shooting 4-of-5 to keep the score within five points, 61-56, at the under-12 timeout.
Out of the timeout, Michigan started to collapse for a second. For the next four minutes, Florida went on a 9-2 run, as the Wolverines committed four turnovers and went scoreless for more than two minutes to tie the game at 65 with 7:38 left.
The drought continued out of the under-eight timeout for another minute, and the Gators extended their lead to five when, finally, Burnett and McDaniel made six free throws to tie the game again. Immediately following that, Olivier Nkamhoua and Will Richard traded big three-pointers (Richard’s third of the half) to keep the game tied at 72 into the media timeout.
While Nkamhoua’s three ended a four-minute Michigan field goal drought, the Wolverines and Gators went on another two-minute drought. Tied at 74 with two minutes remaining in regulation, Pullin scored three points to put the Gators up four, Reed Jr. then made a layup and his free throw, and Richard made his and-one opportunity as well to keep the Florida lead at four, 81-77, with 40 seconds remaining.
Burnett cut the deficit to two with a jumper. Burnett and Nkamhoua then forced a jump ball that gave possession back to Michigan trailing by two. McDaniel proceeded to missed a layup but Nkamhoua was on clean-up duty for the second-chance dunk to tie the game with 12 seconds. The game went into overtime.
Overtime was riddled with more fouls and turnovers, as the Wolverines made six free throws through the first two and a half minutes without recording a made basket and the Gators making one free throw and a basket.
Without a point scored by either team for the next two minutes, largely due to the defensive play by Nkamhoua and Burnett, Michigan found itself up one point with 27 seconds left in overtime as McDaniel drilled two more free throws to extend the lead to three with 18 seconds left and his point total to 31 points.
But just as the Wolverines thought they would be leaving Charlotte with the win, Pullin made a second-chance three-pointer to tie the game once again and force double-overtime.
Nkamhoua started the double OT period with five points, but the Wolverines were the victims of a controversial call on whether or not Reed committed goaltending. The referees ended up calling it against Michigan, and Florida proceeded to go on an 8-0 run to go up six points with a little more than a minute remaining. At that point, the game was too out of reach for the Wolverines to make any sort of comeback.
McDaniel finished with 33 points, eight rebounds and five assists, Nkamhoua finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Williams finished with 17. For the Gators, Pullin finished with 22, Samuel had 21 and Richard tallied 17.
The Wolverines resume action against McNeese on Dec. 29.