Arizona Wildcats race back to beat Michigan 72-70

2013-12-14T10:15:00Z 2014-01-24T16:00:18Z Arizona Wildcats race back to beat Michigan 72-70Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 14, 2013 10:15 am  • 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Nick Johnson hit six free throws in the final 24 seconds left to help give the Arizona Wildcats a come-from-behind 72-70 win over Michigan today at the Crisler Center.

Arizona trailed by nine points at halftime and pulled within a basket of the Wolverines on seven separate occasions in the second half before breaking through with 2:32 left on a three-point play from Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

Johnson later hit his six free throws, two with 24 seconds left, another two with nine seconds left, and two more with six seconds left before Michigan's Spike Albrecht hit a three-pointer with two seconds left to pull Michigan within 71-70.

Arizona inbounded with two seconds left and gave it to Gabe York, who was fouled and hit 1 of 2 free throws. A final heave from Michigan was off the mark as the buzzer sounded.

The win moved top-ranked Arizona to 11-0 while Michigan's 20-game homecourt nonconference winning streak was snapped. The Wolverines dropped to 6-4.

Brandon Ashley led the Wildcats in scoring with 18 points while three players had 14 each: Aaron Gordon, Johnson and Kaleb Tarczewski. Arizona allowed Michigan to shoot 50 percent from the field but outrebounded the Wolverines 37-24 and committed just nine turnovers.

Arizona cut Michigan’s lead to three points or less six different times in the second half but didn’t break through until the seventh time, after which Hollis-Jefferson made the three-point play with 2:32 left to give UA a 63-62 lead.

Michigan’s Mitch McGary hit two free throws on the Wolverines’ ensuing possession, however, and Michigan took a 64-63 lead. A layup from Nik Stauskas gave Michigan a 66-65 lead heading into the final minute before Nick Johnson hit two free throws to put Arizona ahead by one.

After Michigan’s next shot failed, the Wildcats and Wolverines tangled for a jump ball and UA earned the ball on the possession arrow, giving the Wildcats a one-point lead with 9.5 seconds left.

After McGary scored early in the second half for Michigan, the Wildcats went on an 11-2 run that pulled them within two points, 41-39, four minutes into the second half.

The Wildcats pulled within a basket on three different occasions over the first 12 minutes of the second half but could not take the lead. Caris LeVert kep them ahead in the middle of the second half with a three-pointer and three-point play, putting Michigan up 47-41.

Then, after Arizona pulled within 47-46 on a three-pointer from Nick Johnson, LeVert drove inside for another layup to start a 6-0 Michigan run.

Arizona also cut it to 53-50 on a pair of free throws by Tarczewski but Nik Stauskas drove inside and picked up the fourth foul by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, making the ensuing free throws to put the Wolverines up 56-50.

In the first half, Robinson had 16 first-half points and Michigan hit 6 of 11 three pointers while Michigan took a 37-28 halftime lead.

Tarczewski led the Wildcats with eight points and six rebounds.

The Wildcats were successful on the boards, outrebounding Michigan 19-17 and pulling down nine offensive rebounds, but shot just 34.4 percent from the field.

Trailing by up to six points early, the Wildcats pulled within 18-16 with 8:18 left but later gave up three three-pointers over a three-minute span that allowed Michigan to go back ahead by eight.

Tarczewski then broke free for two inside baskets to pull the Wildcats again within two points entering the final two minutes.

Arizona struggled early, taking four possessions to score a basket and trailed 5-2 and 11-7 early. The Wildcats made only 3 of 14 field goals and had four turnovers through the first eight minutes, while point guard T.J. McConnell had two early turnovers to only one assist -- and finished the half with those totals.

Johnson was able to hold Michigan sharpshooter Stauskas early to 0 for 2 shooting, but the Wolverines were able to get out on the break several times and raced to leads of 15-9 and 18-12.

A 50-percent three-point shooter entering the game, Stauskas later hit his first three-pointer with six minutes left, giving Michigan a 25-18 lead.

Robinson, meanwhile, hit all seven field goals he took in the first half, including two three-pointers.

The Wildcats will return home for two games at McKale Center, on Thursday against Southern and on Dec. 23 against NAU, before taking a Christmas break heading into the Pac-12 season.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Arizona at
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9/4 5:00 pm
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9/5 7:30 pm
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