Albrecht's shooting show lifts Michigan early
Spike Albrecht had the time of his life in the first half for Michigan in the NCAA title game.
With point guard Trey Burke on the bench in early foul trouble, Albrecht made all four of his 3-point shots in the half against Louisville. Michigan had a 38-37 lead at halftime, thanks to Albrecht's 17 points.
Not bad for a freshman who was averaging 1.8 points per game and whose main job was to relieve some of the ball-handling pressure from Burke.
Albrecht had made all five of his 3-point attempts in the NCAA tournament coming into Monday night's game, and he was 4-for-4 from beyond the arc at the half. He also made a couple of big 3s in a semifinal win over Syracuse.
After his second 3-pointer of the game gave Michigan a 17-11 lead, Albrecht was hooting and hollering a bit when he came back downcourt.
Burke - the AP Player of the Year - picked up his second foul with 11:09 left in the first half. Albrecht responded with a driving floater, a shot Michigan fans have seen Burke pull off plenty of times.
Then Albrecht went to the floor for a loose ball and somehow threw it some 20 feet ahead to a teammate. The transition chance led to a 3-pointer by Nik Stauskas.
When Albrecht drew a foul with 8:13 to go in the half, Burke was clapping on the bench with a bemused smile on his face, as if he couldn't believe this performance either.
When Louisville called a timeout, Burke ran quickly over to his backup point guard and gave the 5-foot-11 Albrecht a chest bump while the Wolverines returned to their bench.
Michigan beat Syracuse despite off-shooting nights from perimeter standouts Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Stauskas. Albrecht was one of the reserves who gave the Wolverines a surprising lift that night, and Michigan showed off its depth again early in the title game.
Albrecht's previous season high was seven points. His season high for minutes was 15 - and he played 16 in the first half Monday.