MILWAUKEE — Nik Stauskas and Michigan figured out the best way to overcome Texas’ advantage inside: one sweet shooting performance.
Stauskas made four of Michigan’s 14 three-pointers, and the Wolverines beat the Longhorns 79-65 yesterday to advance to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 for the second straight year.
“These guys believe and they did a great job,” coach John Beilein said.
Stauskas had 17 points and matched a career high with eight assists as Michigan (27-8) moved on to next week’s Midwest Regional semifinals in Indianapolis against the winner of today’s Mercer-Tennessee game.
“What I do like about this team is they’ve never lost two in a row. They’ve been resilient,” Beilein said. “They get better in both victory and defeat.”
Isiah Taylor scored 22 points for the seventh-seeded Longhorns on 8-of-22 shooting. Texas (24-11) outrebounded Michigan 41-30, including 21 on the offensive glass, but the Longhorns got off to a slow start and never recovered.
Michigan made 14 of 28 from three-point range and 17 of 21 free throws in its ninth win in the past 10 games. Jordan Morgan had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Pickerington Central graduate Caris LeVert and Glenn Robinson III had 14 points apiece.
“It wasn’t the 14 threes that beat us,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “It was not finishing a couple times defensively and the shots in close that we didn’t get to go down.”
Texas trailed by 18 points early in the second half, but used its defense and rebounding to get back into the game. Martez Walker hit two free throws and Taylor had a jumper to trim Michigan’s lead to 58-52 with eight minutes left.
That’s when Robinson stepped up for the Wolverines, driving inside for a score. After Connor Lammert turned it over for the Longhorns, Robinson hit a three-pointer to make it 63-52 with 6:43 remaining.
“I wanted the ball. I think they were kind of keying in on Nik and some of our other guys,” Robinson said. “I hadn’t scored in a while.”
LeVert added a three in the final minutes, helping Michigan overcome its trouble inside in the second half. The Longhorns outrebounded the Wolverines 25-15 after halftime.
“We’ve got to look at this game, and everybody in this room has to remember this feeling. It’s horrible,” Texas guard Demarcus Holland said.
The Wolverines jumped all over the Longhorns at the start.
Stauskas led the way with his outside shooting and passing skills. He had three of Michigan’s eight threes in the first half. He also threw an alley-oop pass to Robinson for a dunk that made it 36-18 with 3:35 left, and found Morgan for another jam off a pick-and-roll.
Texas trailed 43-30 at halftime, and it would have been a lot worse without Taylor’s slashing ability. The speedy freshman had 12 points at the break.