Michigan holds off Tulsa to advance

Posted at 11:39 PM, Mar 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-17 13:34:23-04
DAYTON, Ohio -- Zak Irvin hit a go-ahead 3-pointer and a pair of free throws in the closing minute as Michigan pulled out another one at the end on Wednesday night, beating Tulsa 67-62 in the First Four.
The Wolverines (23-12) made the leap from bubble team to the NCAA Tournament with their last-second drama. They hit a pair of end-game shots for wins in the Big Ten Tournament, including one by Irvin that beat Northwestern.
His 3-pointer put the Wolverines up 62-60 with 52 seconds to go, and his two free throws with 10 seconds left sent the 11th-seeded Wolverines into a matchup against rival Notre Dame in Brooklyn on Friday night.
Tulsa (20-12) got 23 points from Shaquille Harrison, but its senior-laden lineup couldn't keep up at the end. There were five ties and 12 lead changes in the frantic second half.
Tulsa didn't even expect to get to the First Four after losing its opening game in the American Athletic Tournament -- Harrison tweeted that the NIT was likely the next destination. But the Golden Hurricane had one advantage over Michigan -- much more experience, with four starting seniors.
Michigan has only two seniors, and both are hurt. But the Wolverines' knack for finding a way in the final seconds held up. Irvin had 16 points as four Wolverines reached double figures.
Irvin hit a jumper with 3.3 seconds left for a 72-70 win over Northwestern in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Wolverines then upset top-seeded Indiana 72-69 on Kameron Chatman's 3 from the right corner at the buzzer in the quarterfinals.
The Wolverines had a lot of fans in the stands at UD Arena, a three-hour drive from Ann Arbor. The rest of the fans booed them loudly when they took the court for warmups and again during introductions, a reminder that they were in Ohio now.
They couldn't hit a 3-pointer -- a staple of their high-scoring offense -- and wound up struggling to put runs together. The Wolverines lead the Big Ten with 9.3 made 3s per game, but went only 6 of 25 from beyond the arc.
Tulsa forward Rashad Smith twisted his right ankle when he landed after making a basket that completed an 8-0 run midway through the first half for a 16-9 lead. Smith put little weight on the foot as he went to the locker room for treatment, then returned later in the half and got back into the game.
Michigan's Derrick Walton Jr. made a pair of 3s for a 28-20 halftime lead, the fewest points Tulsa had scored in an opening half all season. That senior experience didn't show in the shooting numbers, with the Golden Hurricane shooting only 36 percent and missing all three of their free throws.
The seniors led the way at the start of the second half, turning it into a back-and-forth game.
Tulsa: Made its 16th appearance and second in three years. Tulsa has reached the Sweet 16 three times, most recently 2000 when it had its only Elite Eight appearance. The Golden Hurricane is 12-16 all-time.
Michigan: Is 45-19 in the tournament, not including years when it had to vacate records due to NCAA violations.
Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane went 4 of 15 from beyond the arc in their AAC Tournament loss to Memphis, forcing shots. Against Michigan, Tulsa was 3 of 15.
Michigan: Freshman forward Moritz Wagner blocked two shots all season. He had three blocks in the first 8 minutes and four overall.
Tulsa: Loses seven seniors who played regularly, including starters Harrison, James Woodard, Rashad Smith and Brandon Swannegan.
Michigan: Plays sixth-seeded Notre Dame on Friday in Brooklyn. Michigan has won their two previous NCAA Tournament matchups, in 1974 and 1976.