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No. 15 Michigan overcomes Iowa in OT 77-71 in Big Ten

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NEW YORK — With Michigan’s stars saddled with foul trouble, and the shots just not falling, the 15th-ranked Wolverines got a lift from their senior sixth man to survive their Big Ten Tournament opener.

Duncan Robinson made Michigan’s only field goal in overtime, a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:15 left, and the Wolverines overcame an assortment of issues to beat Iowa 77-71 on Thursday to move on to the quarterfinals.

The fifth-seeded Wolverines (25-7) face fourth-seeded Nebraska on Friday at Madison Square Garden.

“I’m proud of our guys, because it was not — if you just look at the stat lines, the only way we could win that game was defense,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “The foul shots didn’t go in, The 3s didn’t go in. I think one guy made a 3.”

Yep, just Robinson. The Big Ten’s Sixth Man of the year was 3 for 6. The rest of the Wolverines went 0 for 13. His OT 3 put Michigan up 72-70.

“It’s a good screen by Jon (Teske) and a good pass by Charles (Matthews),” said Robinson, who finished with 11 points. “It all stems from teammates and coaches giving me confidence to step up and take that shot in the first place.”

The Wolverines made just enough free throws to hold off the Hawkeyes (14-19), who got a basket from Luka Garza on their first overtime possession and not another one.

Michigan was 18 for 32 from the free-throw line, but Robinson made two with 10 seconds left to make it 76-71.

“He did what a senior is supposed to do,” Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman said. “Step up and make plays at the end.”

Jordan Bohannon made a 3 off the dribble with 16.3 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 67 for Iowa, which trailed for much of the second half.

“Give them credit, but I’m just so pleased with how we fought back and got into overtime,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey said.

Michigan’s leading scorers, Moe Wagner and Abdur-Rahkman, were both saddled with foul trouble. Wagner fouled out with 4:37 left, having played only 15 minutes and scoring 11 points. Abdur-Rahkman fouled out with 2:34 left in overtime, having scored nine points in 22 minutes.

Matthews led Michigan with 16 points.

Tyler Cook and Garza scored 13 points apiece for Iowa.

Wagner picked up his fourth foul with 9:52 left — a call that stoked the ire of many of the Michigan fans at the Garden — on what turned out to be a three-point play for Ryan Kriener. That cut Michigan’s lead to 53-51. Michigan had missed its first 12 3-point attempts, when Robinson found the range from deep. First, the senior dropped in a 3 from the right corner, holding the follow-through for a beat, to make the score 56-51.

On Michigan’s next possession, Robinson swished a 3 from up top to push the lead to eight.


Iowa: It was quite a few days for Bohannon. He gained national attention last weekend by missing a free throw on purpose to keep from breaking a school record held by the late Chris Street. Bohannon then scored 25 points against Illinois to lead Iowa to an opening victory on Wednesday in New York. He finished 3 for 14 for 11 points against Michigan, but his late 3 was the biggest shot of the game for the Hawkeyes.

“Just a couple of different possessions go a different way it could have been a totally different game,” Bohannon said.

Michigan: The Wolverines are trying to repeat as Big Ten Tournament champions after a memorable run to the title last year that began with the team’s plane crashing during an aborted takeoff from an airport near Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus. No one was seriously hurt, but it was a harrowing experience. Michigan made it to Washington for the tournament and proceeded to rip off four victories as an eight seed to secure an automatic NCAA bid.

These Wolverines are already comfortably in the NCAA field as an at-large.


Michigan is 11-0 in its opening Big Ten Tournament games under Beilein.


Iowa: On to next season for the Hawkeyes.

Michigan: The Wolverines lost their only meeting with Nebraska this season, 72-52 in Lincoln.

Late run sparks Villanova past West Virginia, into Elite Eight

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BOSTON — It is always just a matter of time before the avalanche comes.

And when it does, you better hope that lead you have is big enough to withstand what’s coming.

For No. 5-seed West Virginia, it was not. With 11 minutes left on Friday night in Boston’s TD Garden, the Mountaineers led 60-54 and had seemingly wrestled control of the game from the No. 1-seed in the East Region. Less than five minutes later, after the Wildcats hit four of their next five threes, Villanova had taken a 76-66 lead by going on a 22-6 run, and West Virginia was never able to recover.

Jalen Brunson led the way for the top-seeded Wildcats with 27 points and four assists while Omari Spellman finished with 18 points, eight boards and three blocks and Mikal Bridges chipped in with 16 points despite playing relatively poorly — by his standards — on Friday.

With a 90-78 win, Villanova advanced to the Elite Eight and a date with the winner of tonight’s game No. 2 Purdue-No. 3 Texas Tech.

That’s the way that it works with this Villanova team. Armed with the most potent, high-volume three-point shooting attack in college basketball — maybe in the history of college basketball — fans of their opponents are just waiting for the inevitable.

On Friday night, Villanova shot 13-for-24 from three, which is damned-impressive and exactly what we expect at the same time, but the game was won during that five-minute surge when West Virginia just didn’t have an answer.

VIDEO: Omari Spellman, Eric Paschall with mammoth dunks for Villanova

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Villanova took the lead on West Virginia and turned the tide of momentum with a pair of emphatic dunks in transition.

It started with Omari Spellman, who had an unbelievable sequence, spiking a shot into the floor before throwing down a put-back dunk all over a defender:

A couple of possessions later, Eric Paschall finally did the impossible.

He dunked on Sagaba Konate:

I am having way too much fun at this game.

No. 1 Kansas into Elite Eight with win over No. 5 Clemson

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OMAHA, Neb. — Once Kansas found its stride, Clemson had little chance of keeping pace – even after a late stumble.

The No. 1 Jayhawks ran away from the No. 5 Tigers with a second-half flurry that powered them to a 80-76 victory Friday night at CenturyLink Center to put them in the Elite Eight on Sunday against either Duke or Syracuse.

Kansas moves on to the Midwest Region final on the back of a second-half offense that Clemson had nearly no success in slowing until the final minutes, when the Tigers turned a 20-point laugher into  a six-point nail-biter.

Malik Newman paced Kansas with 17 points while Devonte Graham 16 and Udoka Azubuike 14 and 11 rebounds.

Clemson got 31 points from senior Gabe DeVoe, but there just wasn’t enough help around him for the Tigers to keep things competitive after the Jayhawks hit them with three-consecutive 3s in the opening minutes of the second half to open up a 20-point lead.

Clemson was already hanging on by a threat after it shot just 35.7 percent from the floor and committed eight turnovers. DeVoe’s 12 first-half points kept the Tigers afloat, but they never enjoyed a lead before halftime.

The Jayhawks, meanwhile, had five players  score at least six points in the first half, including 10 from Azubuike, Their usual strengths – 3-point shooting (4 of 13) and Devonte Graham (1 of 7) – were absent in the first half, but Clemson was unable to take advantage as Kansas continued to get quality looks inside and stops on defense.

The Jayhawks previously played Syracuse in December, beating the Orange by 16 on a neutral floor in Miami. They haven’t faced the Blue Devils, though they have already shared a building with them once this year in the Champion’s Classic. Kansas topped Kentucky, 65-61, while Duke defeated Michigan State, 88-81, that November night in Chicago.

VIDEO: Mikal Bridges tries to dunk on Sagaba Konate, gets denied

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There really is nothing better in this world than seeing someone who is typically a great dunker take flight to try and dunk on Sagaba Konate of West Virginia, because it never, EVER ends well for the dunker.

See: Bridges, Mikal:

Auburn AD Greene gives Bruce Pearl a vote of confidence

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Speaking publicly for the first time about head coach Bruce Pearl, new Auburn athletic director gave his embattled head coach a vote of confidence.

Greene was on an in-house podcast produced with the voice of Auburn sports, and was asked about Pearl’s standing in a pod that lasted less than five minutes and felt more like a press release than anything else.

“He’s been a tremendous blessing for the Auburn family,” Greene said. “The FBI investigation is a long process. We’re going through that process to make sure that we, as a university, are doing what it is that we’re supposed to do to comply. Coach Pearl has been excellent in that regard and I look forward to continuing to work with him as we continue to do the very best to support he, his staff and the student athletes of Auburn University.”

This is the first time since former assistant coach Chuck Person was arrested that a member of the Auburn athletic department had spoken so positively about Pearl. In the fall, Auburn’s president Steven Leath lamented Pearl’s lack of cooperation in the investigation, but just last week released a statement saying Pearl is “working with university officials as part of our due diligence.” Pearl said after his team’s 84-53 loss to Clemson in the second round of the NCAA tournament that he would like to return.

There has been speculation that Pearl’s job was in jeopardy ever since Auburn was mixed up in the FBI’s complaint. Two players were forced to sit out this entire season after the FBI alleged they had received money funneled through Person from a runner for an agent and a financial advisor.

“One of the challenges that we have facing the industry is college basketball,” Greene said. “We want to make sure we work incredibly hard to clean up the game, to make it as pure as it can possibly be so that our student-athletes can enjoy the intercollegiate athletic experience. one of the things that we have to keep in mind is that the state of college basketball is not in a good place right now and I’m a little bit disappointed that auburn is involved in that, but that doesn’t take away from the excellent job that Coach Pearl has done.”