OSU basketball: Cowboys' season ends at hands of hot-shooting MI
18 March, 2017, 00:58 | Author: Douglas Reid
Two of the nation's best offenses, coming off impressive second halves of the season, dueled in an exciting first-round matchup to begin Friday's tournament action, with No. 7 seed MI pulling off a 92-91 win over the No. 10 seed Cowboys in Indianapolis, thanks especially to absurdly prolific 3-point shooting.
Michigan State guard Miles Bridges (22) dunks during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Big Ten tournament against Minnesota, Friday, March 10, 2017, in Washington.
MI finished with 16 total three-pointers, the most in an NCAA tournament game since Ohio State hit the same amount against George Mason in the 2011 second round. After winning four games in four days to claim the Big Ten Tournament title, MI might be the hottest team left in the tourney field.
From Gary, Indiana, Dillard said he needed about 30 tickets to the first session of the NCAA Tournament, where OSU and MI will play at 11:15 a.m. Friday.
Jawun Evans, who hit a long three-pointer as time expired to create the finalscore and cover the 2.5-point spread, paced Oklahoma State with 23 points and 11 assists, but the Cowboys shot 7 of 16 from three-point range and couldn't keep up with the hot-shooting Wolverines in the second half, which was perhaps the most entertaining 20 minutes of the entire tournament so far. MI prevailed by one, largely on the strength of 26 points from point guard Derrick Walton Jr. It all starts with taking on a Miamiteam that has been up and down a bit this season, right now they are in a down time despite making the tournament. The only disappointment is that it was played at such a high level that it's unfortunate that one of these teams, Oklahoma State in this case, has to be sent home after just one game.
Oklahoma State, the top-rated offense in Division I by the Pomeroy ratings, shot 54.7 percent, including 21-of-35 in the second half. Almost 66% of their buckets come off of an assist, which is the 2nd-highest percentage in the country.
MI led 41-40 through 20 minutes, getting 11 points from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and 10 from Wilson and eight from Zak Irvin.
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The Cowboys were set as a 2.5 point underdog to the Wolverines and the game opened as close as most observers expected.
"You go 11 of 15 from the 3, that's hard to do in a gym by yourself".
"Any of the things that MI does well, I think Oklahoma State does as well or better".
The difference: Poise and emotion, the same components that helped MI (25-11) overcome last week's harrowing plane mishap to sweep four games in four days at the Big Ten Tournament.
Michigan's John Beilein has 40 years' experience and has encountered every opponent imaginable. He also has hit some big shots and lifted the team in the clutch. Alvin Ellis and Tum Tum Nairn are the only active players who have played more than one NCAA Tournament game.
Iona kept pace with some insane 3-pointers, but OR overwhelmed them in the paint.
The Cowboys asserted themselves in the second half, at time extending a lead to six points. "We still need to improve what we do and we'll get an extra day of that". Tyler Sheehy was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and is one of the Top Ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award.
Both teams rely heavily on senior leaders - Forte and forward Leyton Hammonds for the Cowboys and Irvin, Walton, and Duncan Robinson for MI.
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