Michigan trips Northwestern 72-70 in OT in Big Ten tourney
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) It was a shot Zak Irvin was more than willing to take.
The Michigan guard's game-winning jumper from the right wing with 3.3 seconds to play capped a 19-point effort, lifting No. 8 seed Michigan to a 72-70 overtime victory against No. 9 seed Northwestern on Thursday in the Big Ten tournament.
Irvin, who grew up in the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers and graduated from Hamilton Southeastern High School, added eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The Wolverines (21-11) trailed 70-67, but Duncan Robinson's 3-pointer with 46.5 seconds remaining tied it. Northwestern (20-12) missed an opportunity to retake the lead, and Michigan ran the clock down from 29.3 seconds to set up Irvin's game winner.
''I was amped up before the game,'' Irvin said. ''It's always nice coming back to your hometown so that friends and family can see you play. I was just proud of how hard we were able to fight and how tough we were throughout. Coach (John) Beilein put the ball in my hands at the end, and we were just trying to get the best shot we could.''
Robinson led Michigan with 21 points and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman added 14. The Wolverines advance to play No. 1 seed Indiana in Friday's first quarterfinal.
Tre Demps led Northwestern with 21, Alex Olah had 20 and Bryant McIntosh scored 19.
Michigan shot 38 percent and Northwestern shot 37 percent.
Olah's 3-pointer with 17 seconds to play in regulation pulled Northwestern to within 59-58. Robinson made one of two free throws with 14.3 seconds left for a 60-58 lead, and Olah's rebound basket just ahead of the final horn forced overtime, tied at 60, setting the stage for Irvin's heroics.
''There has been a maturity to Zak's game as he has grown as a player at Michigan,'' Beilein said. ''He has always been good in tough situations, but at the same time, when you are coming back here and playing Purdue or Indiana or just playing in Indianapolis, there's a little bit more pressure on you. He understands that now a lot better than he did in the past couple of years.''
After a McIntosh 3-pointer gave the Wildcats a brief 55-54 lead at the 3:27 mark, Derrick Walton, Jr. made two free throws and Mark Donnal's layup pushed Michigan back on top, 58-55.
A driving layup from Olah tied it at 52 with 5:47 remaining, capping a 7-0 Northwestern run, prompting a Wolverine timeout.
''We got down early, but we just kept playing,'' Olah said. ''That is what you have to do.''
Wildcats coach Chris Collins wasn't surprised when 40 minutes was not enough to produce a winner.
''These are two very evenly matched teams,'' Collins said. ''We don't have that brand name that Michigan has, but we are a good basketball team that is getting there. I hope we have more basketball to play is season. These guys deserve that.
''To win 20 regular season games and eight in the Big Ten shows just how far these guys have brought the program in a short time.''
An Abdur-Rahkman 3-pointer to open the second half gave Michigan a 37-25 lead, but Northwestern countered with a 9-0 run that included three consecutive Olah field goals to close to within 37-34.
Ricky Doyle scored six quick points, and Abdur-Rahkman added another 3-pointer, pushing Michigan's lead to 46-38.
Fueled by a 16-0 run after Demps opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, Michigan led 34-25 at halftime, getting 14 points from Robinson, including three 3-pointers.
After Michigan took a 23-11 lead on an Andrew Dakich 3-pointer, McIntosh and Demps led a Northwestern charge that sliced the Wolverines' advantage to 23-21 with 7:36 remaining in the half.
But with Robinson scoring Michigan's next nine points, the Wolverines closed the first 20 minutes on an 11-4 run.
Michigan shot 40.7 percent in the first half (11 of 27) and limited Northwestern to 25 percent (8 of 32). The Wolverines also enjoyed a 25-17 rebounding advantage.
Northwestern: The Wildcats entered the Big Ten tournament with a three-game winning streak ... Northwestern won 20 regular-season games for the first time in school history ... The Wildcats entered 1-1 all-time in Big Ten tournament games against Michigan, beating the Wolverines 58-56 in 2005 in Chicago.
Michigan: The Wolverines won the first Big Ten tournament in 1998, defeating Purdue 76-67 in Chicago's United Center ... Michigan entered the Big Ten tournament 1-4 in its final five regular season games ... The Wolverines entered averaging 74.9 points a game, the second highest in coach John Beilein's tenure, just behind the 2012-13 team's 75.2.
The Wildcats and Wolverines attempted a combined 126 field goals, 56 of which were 3-pointers. They combined to make 23 shots from beyond the arc.
Northwestern waits for post season tournaments to select fields.
Michigan meets league champion Indiana in Friday's quarterfinals.