Michigan outlasts Minnesota 76-73 in overtime
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman made up for missing two free throws late in regulation when he failed to take advantage of an opportunity to seal a victory.
Abdur-Rahkman bounced back with a tiebreaking three-point play with 3.8 seconds left in overtime and finished with 17 points as No. 24 Michigan held on to beat Minnesota 76-73 Saturday.
“I’m very proud of the way he responded,” said Moe Wagner, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolverines.
Michigan (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten) needed the extra time to win because they struggled to shoot from the field and the line. And they failed to slow down a pair of guards.
The short-handed Golden Gophers (14-11, 3-9) didn’t trail until early in the second half and were in a position to end their longest losing streak of the year because freshman Isaiah Washington had a season-high 26 points and Nate Mason scored 22 points, including a 3-pointer with 5.3 seconds left that tied the game.
Mason was just short on a shot from about 30 feet that would have forced a second overtime.
“I’m proud of our guys for their effort,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. “To play in front of a sold-out crowd when you’re down two of your top six, no team in college basketball can sustain that. We’re not feeling sorry for ourselves. We’re not making excuses. We’ve got to play as close to perfect as we possibly can in order to win. We were close. We know we can play with anybody if we play the right way.”
Michigan’s Zavier Simpson made a layup and a 3-pointer — after missing his first seven attempts beyond the arc — to give his offensively challenged team a four-point lead with 2:50 left in the extra period.
The Gophers tied the game with 11 seconds left, but couldn’t keep Abdur-Rahkman from making the game-winning play on a hard-charging, spinning drive for a layup on which he was fouled by Jamir Harris.
Simpson scored 15 and Charles Matthews had 13 points for the Wolverines, who have won four straight at home. Michigan made just 44 percent of its shots from the field and was 8 of 32 from the 3-point line.
Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy fouled out in overtime with 12 points and six rebounds.
ON THE MOVE
Washington played a lot for a second straight game and made the most of it, surpassing a season high in scoring he set in last game with 15 points against Iowa. In the four games before that, the highly touted guard from New York scored a total of six points and averaged just 5 minutes.
“As he starts to play harder and starts practicing harder, I think coach is going to give him more opportunities,” Murphy said. “When he plays hard, he’s a really talented, young player.”
HE SAID IT
Michigan freshman Jordan Poole, who is averaging seven points in Big Ten games, was held scoreless in 12 minutes. Poole was 0 of 4 with each miss from beyond the arc against Minnesota.
“The pool was closed tonight, I guess,” Beilein quipped.
Minnesota: The Gophers, who played just seven players, extended their season-long losing streak to five games. Minnesota was without Reggie Lynch because of an investigation into sexual assault allegations along with Amir Coffey (right shoulder) and Gaston Diedhiou (ankle) due to injuries.
“It’s not an excuse,” Murphy said. “I think we should have won the game, but, I mean, they made some good plays down the stretch and we weren’t so good defensively down the stretch.”
Michigan: The Wolverines will lose some games they should win if they don’t shoot better at the free throw line. They were 12 of 28 at the line, an area that has been a season-long weakness — especially for Simpson and Matthews.
Beilein said he hasn’t had a team shoot as poorly in 30-plus years since he was at Le Moyne College three-plus decades ago. At Michigan, he has tried to help his team get over the mental block with meditation and may even bring in a hypnotist.
“We’re ready for anything,” Beilein said.
Minnesota: Hosts Nebraska on Tuesday night.
Michigan: Plays at Northwestern on Tuesday night.