Indiana falters in 84-80 loss to No. 12 Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- One year ago, Indiana finished off the regular season by ruining Michigan's chances to share the conference title.
Saturday, they couldn't put a damper on the Wolverines' party.
Indiana led by 10 points in the first half and by six at halftime, then rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final five minutes, but ended up losing 84-80 to No. 12 Michigan.
"I thought we played our best basketball tonight, but they still found a way to win," Indiana coach Tom Crean said. "They are a great team, and you can see them getting better every time they play."
"This is really disappointing -- no one is happy about this," Williams said. "We've just got to learn from this and get better down the road."
Michigan (23-7 15-3) avenged last year's defeat in the regular season finale. In that game, Jordan Morgan's tap-in rolled off the rim as time expired, giving the Hoosiers the victory and costing the Wolverines a share of the conference title. This time, Michigan already had clinched the outright title Tuesday at Illinois, and were playing for pride.
"Our motto since we came here has always been `finish it strong'," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "We wanted to do that for the regular season, but we also wanted to win this for Jordan Morgan and we wanted to win it for our fans, who came out every night during a horrible winter to support us."
The unquestioned star of the night, though, was Morgan. Playing in his last home game after a career that started as a redshirt on a 15-17 team led by Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims, Morgan had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Morgan came into this season expecting to back up McGary, but became the team's leader on and off the floor. In his last three years, the Wolverines won two Big Ten titles, narrowly missed a third and went to the national championship game.
"It has been an incredible five years," he said. "I can't begin to tell you how much hard work and sweat went into getting this program where it is now, and putting those banners in the rafters."
The Wolverines were sluggish in the early going, looking like a team that had already clinched a championship and a top seed in next week's conference tournament. If not for Morgan, who had just been honored in an emotional Senior Day ceremony, Michigan might have been run off the floor by the Hoosiers.
"I don't think there was a single player who thought they were going to lose this game," Crean said. "Not in practice yesterday, and not at any point today. We came here to beat them."
Indiana led 42-36 at the half, thanks to 13 points by Sheehey and 10 by Ferrell.
"We were getting stops, we were getting open looks and we were getting putbacks," Sheehey said.
Indiana struggled with turnovers in the second half, giving the ball away 11 times in the first 13 minutes. That led to 16 Michigan points and helped the Wolverines pull away.
"It was just trash at that point," Sheehey said. "I think I had four turnovers in there and Yogi had four. That's just unacceptable for two guys that have been playing this game for a while. I was just trying to make passes that weren't there."
Caris LeVert's dunk made it 69-60 with 5:39 left, but Indiana tied the game at 75 with 90 seconds left. Robinson answered with a baseline 3-pointer, then grabbed the rebound when Stanford Robinson missed a 3 at the other end.
The Wolverines were able to clinch the game from the free throw line, despite Noah Vonleh's 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds left.
"We overcame the mistakes and overcame the turnovers, but they got it done at the end," Crean said.
The Wolverines then cut down the Crisler Center nets as the arena filled with confetti. The Hoosiers went back to the locker room to get ready for the conference-tournament run they need to get into the NCAAs.
"We've got four days to prepare for our next game," Sheehey said. "We have to be ready for that one, and every game we get after that."
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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