Michigan basketball crumbles in final minute against Vanderbilt in 66-65 NIT loss

It happened again.

Michigan basketball was up eight on Vanderbilt with less than a minute to go. Then, he conceded nine points in a row, committed three consecutive turnovers and was summoned for a goalkeeper basket with 13 seconds to go.

Even with that, he had the ball under one with 13 seconds to go.

On the final possession, Dug McDaniel failed to connect on a floater, Hunter Dickinson failed to make the tip-in drop, and in the end, Michigan collapsed to fall in the second round of the NIT, 66-65, to Vanderbilt.

Michigan’s season (18-16, 11-9 Big Ten) was over after turning a 12-point first-half deficit into a 10-point second-half lead before ultimately another crushing loss.

“We always want to have some learning opportunities in a game like this, but unfortunately we can’t play the next game because our season is over,” coach Juwan Howard told reporters after the game. “Appreciate the effort of our players, especially in the game where we lost two of our stars. I loved how our players performed and competed.

“But in the end, these possessions are really painful.”

OPINION:Michigan basketball is going in the wrong direction. Juwan Howard should fix that this offseason.

Dickinson finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds, and scored 11 straight second half points for Michigan, turning a one-point lead into a double-digit lead. After the game, he didn’t have much to say about the final minute.

“We just gave them the game,” he said.

McDaniel scored 19, one short of his career high, including 13 in the first half to keep the Wolverines in the game.

Joey Baker added 11 points, Terrance Williams II had six points and five rebounds and Tarris Reed Jr. had five points and six rebounds.

Jett Howard, the team’s second leading scorer (14.2 points per game), who missed the team’s victory over Toledo in the NIT opener, was sidelined with an ankle injury. Kobe Bufkin was also eliminated after spraining his ankle in Friday’s practice, according to ESPN.

Tyrin Lawrence led Vanderbilt with 24 points and nine rebounds. Ezra Manjon scored 17 and Colin Smith scored 11 for the Commodores, who will face the winner of UAB and Morehead State in the NIT Quarterfinals next week, with a trip to Las Vegas for the National Semifinals on the line.

Dickinson awakens in the second half

It was a smooth start for Dickinson. He scored the first goal and had nothing for 17 minutes. He made two buckets late in the first half, which seemed to trigger his strong final 20 minutes.

The 7-foot center made a lefty hook at halftime to go up three, then after a rotating layup by Baker, Dickinson added a baseline layup to put UM ahead.

Baker got the next five UM points from the free throw line, while Vanderbilt countered with two layups by Lawrence and a free throw by Wright to make it 41-40 Michigan as Dickinson took over.

First, he caught a Williams feed and slammed it. He added a pivoting hook on the next trip down and caught a tough pass from McDaniel and added another one-handed flip.

Then it was rookie Youssef Khayat’s turn to feed the big man, which Dickinson turned into a 1-up finish. He then added two more free throws to put the Wolverines up 52-42 with 10:52 to play.

“The coach was laying down some really good sets, putting me in positions,” he said. “My teammates were really selfless in looking for me out there.”

a quick meltdown

Dickinson did not score from the ground again, but after three free throws by Reed, UM led 59-51 with 5:08 to play.

Jordan Wright made a layup, then Lawrence scored five straight points to get Vanderbilt to five.

Baker and Trey Thomas appeared to trade 3s, but Baker’s was changed to 2 when replay showed his toe on the line, so a five-point lead was changed to four. Baker and McDaniel added back-to-back mid-range jumpers to put Michigan up 65-57 with 1:45 to play, but Vanderbilt turned on full-court pressure and turned the game around.

Lawrence scored five and Manjon scored four as Vanderbilt went on a 9-0 run in 46 seconds to steal the game.

“We turned the ball over – what is it, three times in a row? – in just one simple play,” Howard said. “One was a pass and the guy missed the basketball, the other was a cross pass, which was a tough catch for a player, and the other was another pass.

“Very uncharacteristic for us as a team”

Races in the first half

Michigan got off to a fast start as Dickinson hit the game-opening bucket and rookie Khayat – who made his first career start and second appearance in a game since January 1 – hit his fourth career 3-pointer to move up 5-0.

Vanderbilt took over the next seven minutes, which included a stretch in which he made six straight field goals: a 3-pointer by Smith, a layup and standout dunk by Lawrence, then eight straight points by Smith on a slashing layup, and consecutive 3s from the right corner.

The Commodores held ONE to 0-of-6 shooting with four turnovers during the same half to mount a 17-0 run and go up 17-5 with 12:53 to play in the first half.

But the tandem of McDaniel and Williams brought UM back into the game.

After two errors, Williams deflected in an offensive rebound before McDaniel hit a floater and the ensuing free kick. Williams added another offensive rebound and a tip on the ensuing possession, before McDaniel knocked a mid-range jumper off a canvas to make a 9-0 Michigan run and cut Vanderbilt’s lead to three.

Vanderbilt’s Paul Lewis drained a long ball off the top of the key to put coach Jerry Stackhouse’s team up to six as McDaniel hit 3 consecutive points – the first on a pull-up, the next off a transfer from his roommate Reed to tie the game at 20.

Reed also provided key early minutes, hitting one hit to tie the game at 22. He had five rebounds in six first-half minutes. After a high flying Lawrence and 1 dunk put Vanderbilt up 27-24, Michigan closed out the half with a 6-0 run.

Dickinson, who had not scored beyond the first few points of the game, hit back-to-back buckets on the lane to give UM a 30-29 halftime lead and crossed the 1,600-point mark for his career.

All players not named Smith or Lawrence for Vanderbilt combined to go 4-of-15 from the floor for 11 points and three turnovers.

“There are different emotions running through your head,” Howard said when asked how to sum up the season. “It’s important for us now to get dressed, come home, get a good night’s sleep — hopefully we can — and then we’ll talk about (it) when we get back to Ann Arbor.”

Please contact Tony Garcia at apgarcia@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @realtonygarcia.

This article originally appeared in Detroit Free Press: Michigan Basketball Crumbles in NIT Loss to Vanderbilt

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