Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, March 10, 2016
Michigan arrived in Indianapolis most likely needing to win at least two games in the Big Ten tourney to earn an NCAA bid. It got one today when it downed Northwestern 72-70 in overtime. With the clock winding down in regulation, Northwestern?s Alex Olah hit a fade-away jumper with one-tenth of a second left to tie the game and force OT.
But Michigan prevailed with some clutch plays in a back-and-fourth extra session that was capped by a game-winning shot by the Wolverines? Zak Irvin with three seconds left. No. 8 Michigan will play No. 1 Indiana on Friday.
Top star: Zak Irvin. A former Indiana Mr. Basketball, Irvin was back home in the Indianapolis area and played big. He finished with 19 points and eight rebounds. And Irvin hit the biggest shot of the day in OT, draining a jumper from the right elbow with three seconds left that provided the winning points in a 72-70 win.
Top stat: 20, free throws for Michigan. Free throws gave a big edge to Michigan, which hit 16-of-20. Conversely, Northwestern shot just 12 and made nine.
Top stat line: Michigan?s Duncan Robinson played big, scoring a game-high 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting. And he hit 4-of-6 3-pointers, including a big one with 48 seconds left in overtime that tied the game. Not bad for a guy who began his career in Division III.
Top dunk: There were none. This game was about shooting, as the teams combined for 56 3-point attempts.
It was over when: After Duncan Robinson hit a 3-pointer with 48 seconds left to tie the game in OT, Zak Irvin rolled around a screen and drained a jumper from the elbow with three seconds left to give Michigan a 72-70 lead.
Did you see this? Got two of ?em. First, Alex Olah. The big fella hit a game-tying shot with .1 seconds left to force overtime and finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season and 12th of his career.
Then Michigan?s Zak Irvin answered with what proved to be the game-winner with three seconds left in overtime.
Notable: Northwestern closed the regular season with three consecutive wins by double-figures. The last time NU won three Big Ten games in a row by double-figures was 1954. Alas, the Wildcats could not extend their streak. … A win would have been the 21st on the season for NU, which would have set a school single-season record. This was the first time the Wildcats had 20 regular-season games ever. … Michigan has a total of 41 games lost to injury this season — Spike Albrecht (22; hips), Caris LeVert (16; lower left leg), Derrick Walton Jr. (3; ankle) and D.J. Wilson (2; ankle). Last season, U-M had a 58 games lost due to injuries to LeVert (14), Walton (12) and D.J. Wilson (27). … This was NU?s school-record fifth OT game of the season. NU went 3-2.