Michigan needs OT to beat Northwestern
Tim Hardaway Jr. was a bit careless while contesting Alex Marcotullio's shot, fouling the 3-point shooter with 0.3 seconds remaining in a game Michigan led by three.
Marcotullio went to the free throw line and immediately missed — and Hardaway could breathe easy.
''He had a wide-open shot and I was probably too eager,'' Hardaway said. ''I need to be able to get over on a play like that and contest the shot without giving up a foul.''
Michigan was far from perfect Wednesday night, but the 13th-ranked Wolverines were a happy bunch after holding off Northwestern 66-64 in overtime. The Wildcats led by 10 in the second half before Michigan rallied and forced a tense finish. Hardaway scored 19 points and freshman Trey Burke added 19 of his own, including the Wolverines' final eight.
Hardaway and Burke both played all 45 minutes.
Northwestern (11-5, 1-3 Big Ten) trailed 66-63 when Marcotullio was fouled by Hardaway in the right corner. He hadn't attempted a shot all night and had only six free throw tries on the season. After missing the first, Marcotullio made the second and had to intentionally miss the third. The Wildcats were unable to tip in the rebound.
John Shurna also went 45 minutes, scoring 21 points for Northwestern. Drew Crawford added 20.
Michigan (14-3, 4-1) shot only 33 percent from the field but had 17 offensive rebounds and forced 16 turnovers.
''It was a great practice for mental toughness,'' Michigan coach John Beilein said.
After Burke's basket put the Wolverines ahead 60-58, officials called a contact technical foul on Michigan's Jordan Morgan with 2:11 remaining. But Northwestern couldn't take advantage. Crawford made only one of two free throws, and a miss by Dave Sobolewski gave the Wolverines the ball back.
After a miss by Michigan's Stu Douglass, the ball went out of bounds back to the Wolverines. Burke made two free throws, then Sobolewski made two of his own with 57.9 seconds remaining.
With Northwestern in a 1-3-1 zone, Hardaway missed from the left wing, but the Wildcats again couldn't control the rebound, knocking it out of bounds with 37.3 seconds to play. Burke made two more free throws and Crawford dunked to cut the margin to one again.
Burke's last two free throws, with 6.5 seconds left, made it 66-63.
''It's always important to win a game in the conference when you don't play a great game, but especially against a team like that,'' Michigan's Zack Novak said. ''I don't think people understand how good that team is, because their Big Ten record doesn't reflect it.''
Down 44-36 in the second half, Michigan went on a 10-0 run to take the lead. Hardaway, Morgan and Burke made baskets to start the rally, then Novak tied it with a layup and put the Wolverines ahead with a dunk. Northwestern coach Bill Carmody called three timeouts in a span of 1:43 to try to stop the run. After the last one, his team committed a shot clock violation, prompting a media timeout.
''I just wanted to stop the noise,'' Carmody said. ''I didn't have anything special to say - I'm not the kind of guy that gives big motivational speeches. Just wanted to get things stopped.''
The Wildcats eventually gathered themselves, scoring six straight points to take a 50-46 advantage.
Hardaway tied it at 54 on a 3-pointer with 2:40 remaining, and neither team scored for the rest of regulation. Northwestern called a timeout with 23.5 seconds remaining and 16 on the shot clock. Hardaway was called for a non-shooting foul with 10.1 seconds left - a call that had Beilein several feet out on the floor to complain.
Now able to hold for the final shot, Crawford drove toward the basket and was called for traveling. With 1.5 seconds to play, Michigan called a timeout, but Hardaway wasn't able to come up with Novak's long pass and the game went to overtime.