It happened again.
Michigan basketball was up eight in Vanderbilt with less than a minute to play. Then they gave up nine points in a row, committed three turnovers in a row and were called to a goalkeeper basket with 13 seconds to go.
Still, it had the ball down with 13 seconds to go.
On final possession, Dug McDaniel couldn’t hit a floater, Hunter Dickinson couldn’t get the tip-in to fall and in the end Michigan collapsed, falling to Vanderbilt in the second round of the NIT, 66-65.
Michigan’s season (18-16, 11-9 Big Ten) is over after turning a 12-point deficit in the first half into a 10-point lead in the second before eventually turning into another crushing defeat came.
“We always want to learn something from a game like this, but unfortunately we can’t play the next game because our season is over,” coach Juwan Howard told reporters after the game. “Appreciate the efforts of our guys, especially in the game we lost two of our star players. … loved how our boys came out and competed against each other.
“But in the end, those possessions, that’s really painful.”
OPINION:Michigan basketball is trending in the wrong direction. Juwan Howard needs to fix it this offseason.
Dickinson finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds and scored 11 straight points in the second half for Michigan to turn a one-point lead into a double-digit advantage. After the game he didn’t have much to say about the final minute.
“We just gave them the game,” he said.
McDaniel scored 19 goals, one shy of his career high, including 13 in the first half to keep the Wolverines in the game.
Joey Baker added 11 points, Terrance Williams II had six points and five rebounds, and Tarris Reed Jr. had five points and six rebounds.
Jett Howard, the team’s second-best scorer (14.2 points per game), who missed the team’s NIT inaugural win over Toledo, was absent with an ankle injury. Kobe Bufkin was also out, according to ESPN, after pinching his ankle in practice on Friday.
Tyrin Lawrence led Vanderbilt with 24 points and nine rebounds. Ezra Manjon scored 17 and Colin Smith scored 11 for the Commodores, who will face 4-Seed UAB and Morehead State winners in next week’s NIT Quarterfinals, with a trip to Las Vegas for the national semifinals at stake.
Dickinson awakens in the second half
It was a quiet start for Dickinson. He scored the opening bucket and then had nothing for 17 minutes. He made two buckets late in the first half, which seemed to ignite his strong final 20 minutes.
The 7-foot-1 center made a left-handed hook off the break to get a three, then Dickinson added a baseline layup after a Baker spinning layup to bring UM one.
Baker got the next five UM points from the free throw line while Vanderbilt countered with two layups from Lawrence and a free throw from Wright to make it 41-40 Michigan when Dickinson took over.
First, he caught a feed from Williams and threw down the slam. On the next drive down, he added a spinning hook shot, caught a hard pass from McDaniel, and added another one-handed flip.
It was then the turn of newcomer Youssef Khayat to feed the big man, turning Dickinson into an And-1 finish. He then added two more free throws to put the Wolverines up 52-42 by 10:52.
“The coach put together some really good sets and put me in positions,” he said. “My teammates were looking for me out there, really unselfishly.”
A quick breakdown
Dickinson again failed to score from the ground, but after three Reed free throws, UM led 59–51, 5:08 to play.
Jordan Wright made a layup, then Lawrence hit five in a row to put Vanderbilt within five.
Baker and Trey Thomas appeared to trade 3s, but Baker’s was changed to a 2 when the replay showed his toe on the line, changing a five-point lead to four. Baker and McDaniel added back-to-back midrange jumpers to put Michigan 65-57 at 1:45, but Vanderbilt turned on a full-court press and changed the game.
Lawrence scored five and Manjon four as Vanderbilt started a 9-0 run in 46 seconds to steal the game.
“We flipped the ball – what’s that, three times in a row? – on a simple play,” Howard said. “One was a pass and the guy mishandled the basketball, the other a crosscourt pass which was a tough catch for one player, then the other was another pass.
“Very atypical for us as a team”
Runs in the first half
Michigan got off to a quick start as Dickinson hit the game’s opening basket and freshman Khayat – who was making his first career start and second appearance in a game since Jan. 1 – nailed his fourth career 3-pointer to go up 5. 0
Vanderbilt took over for the next seven minutes, including a stretch in which he hit six straight field goals: a 3-pointer from Smith, a layup and a highlight dunk from Lawrence, then eight straight points from Smith with a slashing layup and back-to-back 3s from the right corner.
The Commodores held UM with 6-0 shooting with four turnovers during the same time to put together a 17-0 run and take a 12-53 lead 17-5 to play in the first half.
But the tandem of McDaniel and Williams brought UM back into play.
After two misses, Williams tipped into an offensive rebound before McDaniel hit a floater and the ensuing foul shot. Williams added another offensive rebound and tip-in on the ensuing possession before McDaniel threw a midrange jumper off the screen to make it a 9-0 Michigan run and cut Vanderbilt’s lead to three.
Vanderbilt’s Paul Lewis dropped a long ball off the top of the key to take coach Jerry Stackhouse’s side to six as McDaniel scored consecutive 3-pointers – the first on a pull-up, the next on a handoff from his roommate Reed to tie the game at 20.
Reed also provided vital minutes early, making a putback from a miss to end the game on 22. He had five rebounds in six minutes of the first half. After a high-flying Lawrence and a dunk gave Vanderbilt a 27-24 lead, Michigan closed out the half with a 6-0 run.
Dickinson, who had scored only the opening points of the game, hit consecutive buckets in the lane as he gave UM a 30-29 lead before the break, surpassing the 1,600-point benchmark for his career.
All players not named Smith or Lawrence for Vanderbilt went 4-for-15 together from the floor for 11 points and three turnovers.
“There are different emotions going on in your head,” Howard said when asked how to sum up the season. “It’s important now for us to get dressed, come home, get a good night’s sleep — hopefully we can — and then we’ll talk about it when we return to Ann Arbor.”
This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Michigan Basketball Collapses with NIT Loss to Vanderbilt