The eleventh seeded Wolverines squared off against the sixth seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night. Michigan held a twelve point lead at halftime, but feel off late losing 70-63, ending their season.
The Wolverines opened up with a 5-0 lead, which eventually grew to 14-7 on a pair of Derrick Walton field goals at 13:40. The Irish cut the score to 16-13 until Walton and Dawkins hit a couple of threes the put the Wolverines up 22-13. A Walton steal and layup in transition put U-M up 24-13, but ND started to heat up. A Demetrius Jackson jumper and a V.J. Beachem three got the Irish rolling until Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman could stop the bleeding with an athletic drive and finish at the basket. Michigan finished the half on a 7-0 run; Abdur-Rahkman had 12 points, Walton with 10.
Five quick points by the Irish cut Michigan’s lead to seven. U-M got on the scoreboard with a Donnal finish inside, followed by a Duncan Robinson three that halted Notre Dame’s progress, 46-39 with 16:20. Michigan started to fall apart with a shooting lapse as the Irish switched to a man defense. Irvin had multiple misses and was shooting 1-10 from the floor at that point. Notre Dame’s Matt Ryan hit a three that tied the game 48-48. Zak Irvin finally hit a triple that gave Michigan a spark. Both sides traded points until ND’s Beachem hit a three and a pull up mid range shot to put the Irish up five (64-59) with three minutes remaining. Donnal cut Michigan’s deficit to three with a layup inside, but Notre Dame answered with a put-back. Irvin had a look inside to keep the Wolverines alive, but his missed shot from three to tie the game was U-M’s final look as the Irish closed the game from the free throw line, 70-63.