No. 3 Michigan survives sloppy performance to beat No. 14 Montana

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Mo Wagner committed his first of three turnovers just three seconds into the game. He shot just 2-for-6 from the floor. He scored all six of his points in the second half. He did all this on a night where Zavier Simpson, Michigan’s point guard that took a star turn during the Wolverine run to the Big Ten tournament title, played just three first half minutes due to foul trouble.

And it didn’t matter.

No. 3 seed Michigan beat No. 14 Montana in one of the ugliest basketball games that you’ll ever see, a 61-47 snooze-fest that included a 15-minute delay during the start of the second half for what appeared to be an issue with the review equipment. The Wolverines got 18 points and 11 boards from Charles Matthews and 11 points from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman. They committed 14 turnovers. They missed eight of their first 15 free throws. It was just … ugly.

So let’s talk about the good things.

  • Michigan’s defense was as good as ever. The Wolverines dug themselves a 10-0 hole in the first three minutes then allowed just 34 points the rest of the way. They held Montana scoreless for more than 10 minutes in the second half to open up their lead.
  • They won a game with their two most important players struggling.
  • Most importantly, they won.

And in the end, that’s all that matters.

Win.

Advance.

Hope that you play better on Saturday.

Because no one on Houston, one of the hottest teams in the country, is going to care if you’re still rusty from a 12-day layoff.