BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — IU’s first game in March went like seemingly every other college basketball game in March: crazy, unpredictable, and down to the final shot.
After a disappointing performance against the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Hoosiers (21-10, 12-8 B1G) emerged victorious after a thriller against the Michigan Wolverines (17-14, 11-9 B1G) on Sunday evening. The win came on Senior Night for Trayce Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson, Miller Kopp, Michael Shipp, and Nate Childress. IU clinched a top-three seed and a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament with the narrow victory.
The Hoosiers got out to an early lead, opening up a double-digit advantage with 7:07 to go in the first half. Jalen Hood-Schifino and Jackson Davis accounted for 49 of the team’s 62 points in the last matchup. The two had eight of the first thirteen points.
This game saw a lot more activity off the bench from Kaleb Banks, Malik Reneau, and Tamar Bates. All saw first-half minutes. Thompson also stepped up, using that added Senior Night intensity to secure rebounds and pace IU defensively. Thompson scored seven points in the first half.
IU kept a double digit lead for the majority of the half, but Michigan went on a run to close the first period that changed the complexion of the game. The Wolverines ripped off 10 straight points before the buzzer, with Dickinson scoring eight of the 10.
IU’s foul trouble did not help. Hood-Schifino had two fouls and Trey Galloway finished the half with three, the last of which came in the final minute, with Bates at the scorer’s table.
Despite having a 12-point lead at one point, the Hoosiers struggled to turn their strong defense efforts into positive offensive possessions. IU’s shot selection coupled with their inability to shoot accurately gave Michigan an opportunity to strike.
The Wolverines silenced Assembly Hall for the final minutes of the half going on a 14-2 run. Shades of the Hoosiers’ Iowa performance started resurfacing. The Hoosiers led 29-27 after 20 minutes.
The Wolverines kept the same energy they left on the floor, starting the second half on a 15-5 run to take an 8-point lead. A disconnected IU offense struggled to make much happen on offense and Michigan exploited the paint gaps of the Hoosier defense.
IU lost their spark and could not find their way. Galloway found his fourth foul only five minutes into the second half. Bates replaced him; he stepped up and hit his first three since the Rutgers game a month ago. It gave the Hoosier team, and Assembly Hall, some much-needed life.
With 10 minutes remaining in the game, the Hoosiers came out of their timeout motivated and ready to rally. IU greatly increased their defensive effort, playing high man-to-man and showing full-court pressure.
The Hoosiers started inching towards Michigan. A triple from Kopp energized the crowd. Thompson then scored five straight, including an and-one slam. IU trailed by just one.
The pace of scoring slowed down the stretch. Each team spent every ounce of energy they had to come away with the victory. Michigan, especially, needed this win for their NCAA Tourney hopes.
After a Tarris Reed layup, IU finally grabbed the lead on a second straight TJD basket. The Hoosiers needed to see out the last two minutes, but Michigan wouldn’t cooperate.
Bufkin made two free throws to retake the lead for the Wolverines. Then, Dickinson scored to put Michigan up three. IU wouldn’t die. Hood-Schifino tied the game with a clutch three with 44 seconds remaining.
Michigan rallied late and took a timeout with 13.4 seconds left. With no shot clock, the Wolverines struggled to find an open shot and threw a three-pointer up that did not hit.
The clock still had 0.7 seconds left. The Hoosiers inbounded to Jackson-Davis at half-court, and he heaved a shot that almost banked in at the buzzer.
The five-minute overtime started off hot for the Hoosiers, who scored the first six points. IU’s defense refused to let up and played with incredible intensity. Dickinson finally broke the seal for Michigan with a three-pointer with 1:58 left.
Neither team made a field goal after that. It came down to 23 seconds remaining. Dickinson lost possession when Race Thompson stepped up and stole the ball from behind. Thompson was fouled and went to the line where he missed both shots with 6.0 seconds remaining.
Woodson opted to foul Michigan. Dug McDaniel went to the line and split the free throws, intentionally missing the second. Thompson got the rebound and was again fouled and forced to take two more.
With 4.1 seconds and a two-point lead, Thompson missed both free throws again. Bufkin grabbed the rebound, ran down the court, but made a poor pass that resulted in time expiring.
The Hoosiers won in a crazy fashion that perfectly captured the ups and downs, highs and lows of their regular season.
IU heads to the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago. The Hoosiers made it to the semifinals last year, falling to Iowa on a Jordan Bohannon prayer. IU will play on Friday as either the No. 2 or 3 seed.
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