Tourney recap: Michigan's March magic runs out in 69-68 loss to Oregon

Tourney recap: Michigan's March magic runs out in 69-68 loss to Oregon

And just like that, it’s over.


Finished. Kaput. No. 7 Michigan’s magic ride has concluded with a 69-68 loss to No. 3 Oregon in the Sweet 16.

This has been a Wolverine team on a mission for weeks, dating to an ugly home loss to Ohio State in early February. That defeat served as a spark for the Wolverines, who have gone 12-2 entering tonight’s game and overcame a near tragic incident when the team plane skidded off the runway during an aborted takeoff on the way to the Big Ten tourney.

A big key to the run: defense. Yes, this may not be the toughest team. But it is a highly skilled squad that became more committed to getting stops. But on this night, Michigan’s offense wasn’t clicking. And with a chance to win the game on its last possession with 10 seconds left, the offense came up short as Michigan’s Derrick Walton settled for a long jumper when perhaps it would have been wiser to take the ball to the basket. Walton’s shot missed.

Game over. Season over.

And Oregon is off to the Elite Eight for a second year in a row and third time since 2007 as it looks for its first Final Four since the program won the first NCAA title in 1939. Michigan still has a lot to be proud of in what has been a season to remember.

Top star: Derrick Walton, Jr. Yes, the senior came up short on his last shot to win the game, but he chimed in with another big effort in scoring a game-high 20 points. Walton connected on 6-of-10 shots and hit 3-of-5 3-pointers while dishing out eight assists with five rebounds. Zak Irvin chipped in 19 points. Oregon was led by Tyler Dorsey’s 20 points. And Jordan Bell was a monster on the glass with 13 boards.

Top stat: 34, as in points in the paint for Oregon compared to just 16 for Michigan. And the Ducks did this playing without injured big man Chris Boucher.

It was over when: Oregon looked like it may take control down the stretch, forging a 60-55 lead with 5:08 left on a Dylan Ennis hoop. But the Wolverines chipped back, going up by three points with 2:04 to go on a Derrick Walton jumper. But with 1:09 left, the Ducks took a 69-68 lead on a Tyler Dorsey layup. The Wolverines missed their last three shots. And, that was it.

What’s next? Michigan can start to focus on next season. And, there will be work to do. The Wolverines will miss senior guard Walton, Jr., and wing Zak Irvin. Sweet-shooting Duncan Robinson also is out of eligibility along with fellow big Mark Donnal. But this program can build around big men D.J. Wilson and Moe Wagner. Also back will be guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Xavier Simpson. And having John Beilein as coach always gives Michigan a shot, as he welcomes some nice recruits led by four-star forward Isaiah Livers and four-star guard Jordan Poole.

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.