No. 2 seed Michigan takes on No. 8 Kentucky as it tries to return to the Final Four for a second straight year. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. Follow Geoff Robinson on our blog as he provides live game updates.
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It was a wild affair down the stretch, but Kentucky pulled out a 75-72 victory thanks to a last-second 3-pointer from Aaron Harrison.
Kentucky stretched its lead to five on two occasions, but Glenn Robinson III answered with two huge 3-pointers from the far corner to cut the lead to two. Michigan forced the Wildcats into a shot clock violation with 59 seconds remaining and called a timeout to set up a play. After a few missed shot attempts, the Wolverines fought for the ball and forced Julius Randle to tip the ball in his own basket.
With the game tied and 31 seconds remaining, Kentucky had the last shot. Michigan had a foul to give and decided to give it with 10 seconds left. Harrison stepped back and drilled a 3-pointer in Caris LeVert’s face to give the Wildcats the lead with 2.3 seconds left on the clock. Nik Stauskas missed a half court heave after a timeout and Kentucky is heading to the Final Four.
Stauskas led the Wolverines with 24 points, and Julius Randle scored 16 and grabbed 11 rebounds to pace the Wildcats.
The Wildcats stretched the lead to seven, but Glenn Robinson III knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner when the Wolverines needed it most. Jordan Morgan then got a put back layup that sent him to the line where he knocked down the free throw to cut the Kentucky lead to one.
Aaron Harrison promptly answered with his own 3-pointer before Morgan was able to get it back to two with a dunk.
Julius Randle is playing like a monster and the Kentucky is asserting itself down the stretch as the Wolverines try to find a way to win this game.
Randle has 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead Kentucky.
Wildcats lead 65-63 with 3:38 remaining.
After a sweeping hook from Julius Randle tied the game, Aaron Harrison knocked down a 3-pointer and Kentucky took the lead back from Michigan with eight minutes left to play.
The Wolverines have lost their poise on the offensive end by missing open shots and turning the ball over.
Wildcats lead 58-55 with 7:36 left to play.
Caris LeVert stuffed Julius Randle for a jump ball call that allowed Kentucky to retain possession. LeVert followed that up by drawing another jump ball and getting possession back for his team. After a timeout, LeVert then found Jon Horford for an easy slam to push the Wolverine lead to four.
LeVert had just two first half points, but has scored seven in the second half and made two huge defensive plays for his team.
Michigan leads 55-53 with 9:14 left to play.
Caris LeVert tied the game with a 3-pointer, but James Young answered with one of his own. Nik Stauskas knocked down two free throws and the Wolverines continue to hang around against a Wildcats team that is hitting on all cylinders.
Glenn Robinson III dunked one home on the fast break to give Michigan a 53-51 lead with 12:25 left to play.
Kentucky is out-rebounding Michigan 27-18. The Wildcats have 14 offensive boards.
Kentucky got an offensive board and Julius Randle slammed it home to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game. Caris LeVert tied the game with a floater, but Kentucky got the lead back with a bucket on the low post from Dakari Johnson.
Michigan continues to struggle guarding the Wildcats in the paint and Julius Randle has two early second half buckets as he begins to assert himself. Jordan Morgan picked up his third foul 30 seconds into the half.
A couple big jumpers pulled the Wolverines closer after Kentucky jumped out to a six-point lead.
Wildcats lead 47-44 with 15:03 remaining in the first half.
The Wolverines keep hearing that they can’t handle teams that are supremely talented down low, but they were fired up from the start of this one and were able to build up a 10-point lead before a 15-5 Kentucky run tied the game at 37 heading into the half.
Nik Stauskas has been the man for Michigan so far. The sophomore has a game-high 18 points.
James Young and Marcus Lee, not Julius Randle, have been the best players on the floor for the Wildcats with 10 points each. Randle has six.
The Maize and Blue are doing a great job of getting to the rim. Sure, they’ve knocked down a few threes (3-for-8), but they’ve also put their heads down and drove the lane.
The second half should be a good one as the Wolverines have showed they are in this for the long haul. They’ll have to do a better job against Kentucky down low as the Wildcats have thrived mostly thanks to dunks and second-chance points.
Nik Stauskas took the ball to the whole and drew a foul to complete a 3-point play for Michigan, who continues to look good in the first half. Stauskas has 15 points to lead the team.
Zak Irvin came off the bench and knocked down a 3-pointer on his first shot attempt for the Wolverines.
Michigan leads 32-22 with 5:12 remaining in the first half.
Nik Stauskas has 10 points, but the Wildcats have owned the paint against a smaller Wolverines front line.
Marcus Lee has six points (all dunks) off the bench for Kentucky.
Michigan leads 22-19 with 7:58 remaining in the first half.
The Wildcats are throwing the ball at the basket and throwing down dunk after dunk, but the Wolverines are still doing a nice job of getting to the rim and finishing themselves.
A very entertaining game has broken out and Michigan leads 18-16 with 11:05 remaining in the first half.
Nik Stauskas has two 3-pointers and the Wolverines got out to an early nine-point lead before a James Young layup got Kentucky back within five. Four early turnovers have cost Kentucky the ability to put together solid possessions.
This young Michigan team has shown a tendency to get fired up when the national media thinks they don’t have a chance to win. They are showing that fire in the early going.
Wolverines lead 14-8 with 12:56 remaining in the first half.
The Wolverines crashed the offensive boards and Glenn Robinson III got the first two points of the game with a put back layup. After a Kentucky bucket, Jordan Morgan got a dunk on nice pick-and-roll execution with Caris LeVert. Michigan is getting to the bucket early, and that could open up shots from the outside.
Wolverines lead 6-2 with 17:14 remaining in the first half.
The Wolverines are on the brink of back-to-back Final Fours for the first time since the days of the Fab Five, and all they have to do to get there is beat a Kentucky team that starts five freshmen. It’s funny how things work out, isn’t it?
The Wildcats were the number one team in every pre-season poll before their inexperience started to show through and they became just another decent team heading into the tournament. Fact is, though, Kentucky has found itself and is going to be an extremely tough match up for Michigan. Julius Randle is a monster on the inside, and Jordan Morgan is going to have to repeat his defensive performance against Tennessee if the Wolverines can even hope to contain him. When Randle catches the ball in the paint, it opens up shots on the perimeter for his talented teammates, particularly Metro Detroit native James Young. Michigan is going to have to guard the entire half-court for a full 40 minutes.
The 3-pointer has been the Wolverines’ best friend through three tournament games. They have been on fire from behind the arc, and that hot shooting has drawn defenders out of the paint and opened up drives to the basket. Michigan will have to hit its shots and continue to get to the hole if they want to get back to the Final Four.
This should be a close match up, and the Wolverines are more than capable of winning. It’s going to come down to execution and playing smart.