Michigan had the ball under the basket, needing to go the length of the floor in 3.6 seconds, trailing by two. That's when Jordan Pooled took a handoff from Mohammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman and hit a 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer go give Michigan an improbable 64-63 win that sends them to the Sweet 16.
The Wolverines were given possession of the ball under their own basket with 17 seconds remaining, trailing by one, and they got the look they wanted. Mohammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman got a clear path to the rim but put the ball off the glass too strong. Michigan fouled to send Houston to the line with four seconds remaining. Devin Davis missed both, and the Wolverines called timeout with 3.6 seconds on the clock.
With 44 seconds remaining and the Wolverines trailing by a point, Abdur-Rahkman got a good look at the glass but wasn't able to get the ball to drop in. With 24 seconds on the clock, Davis split a pair to set up the dramatic Abdur-Rahkman miss.
Michigan found itself down five with under five minutes to play, but it was able to get to the line and connect on eight consecutive free throws to get back out in front. The charity stripe played a huge role tonight, as refs refused to swallow their whistles, fouling out Charles Matthews and Duncan Robinson. Houston finished 16-for-22 from the line, while the Wolverines went 14-for-20.
Free throws proving to be a turning point
Michigan has hit six consecutive free throws, grabbing a 55-54 lead with 3:42 remaining. When the teams come back from the break, Mohammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman will be heading to the charity stripe for a pair of his own. Both teams are in the double bonus heading down the stretch.
Teske hits clutch free throws
Michigan couldn't buy a bucket. It got two offensive rebounds on a possession in which it clanked three consecutive 3-pointers. Trailing by five, however, the Wolverines finally caught a break. Charles Matthews hit from beyond the arc, and Houston was called for a foul, sending Jon Teske to the line, where he hit a pair to tie the game: a 5-point play.
Rob Gray came back down the floor to finish an off balance shot in the lane, but Teske answered with two more free throws on the next trip down the floor.
With 4:52 remaining, it's tied 53-53.
Wagner sent to the bench with foul trouble
Moritz Wagner came out of the timeout and hit a 3-pointer with a whistle. He wasn't able to convert the 4-point play, and then the unthinkable happened, as the big man was called for his fourth foul (it wasn't really a foul) with more than eight minutes remaining.
With 7:37 remaining, the Cougars are still out in front 51-46.
Gray starting to heat up
Rob Gray is starting to put his stamp on this game, getting to the rim for one bucket before drilling a 3-pointer on the next trip down, pushing the Houston lead to 49-43 with 10:43 left to play.
Michigan is not playing the kind of basketball that led to so much success in February. They aren't getting to the rim and they aren't giving Moritz Wagner enough chances to go to work. They're going to have to dial it in if they want this season to continue.
The refs are taking over
Moritz Wagner got elbowed in the face by an out of control offensive player, but it it was Michigan's big man that was called for the foul. And with that, Houston is now in the bonus for the game's final 14 minutes.
With 11:48 remaining, the Cougars have a 42-41 lead.
The refs have officially taken over the game. Wagner has three fouls, as do Duncan Robinson and Charles Matthews.
Wolverines, Cougars trading jabs
Houston got the first two buckets of the second half, but Moritz Wagner hit a 3-pointer and picked up two fouls on Cougars starting forward Bearon Brady, who heads to the bench with four personal fouls. On the next possession, Wagner found Charles Matthews for an easy bucket at the rim. The Cougars came back and got a 3-point play the old fashioned way, but Matthews came right back with a nice move in the lane.
With 15:41 left to play, it's 35-35.
Wolverines tied with Cougars at the half
Aside from a solo run by Duncan Robinson midway through the first half, the Michigan offense hasn't clicked tonight against Houston.
That said, it's still a tie ballgame, 28-28 at the half.
Robinson has a game-high nine points.
Houston star Rob Gray hasn't been his usual self from the field (2-for-11 for 8 points), so it's a bit concerning that the Wolverines haven't been able to put at least a little bit of distance between themselves and the Cougars.
Moritz Wagner has yet to show up in this NCAA Tournament. Michigan's star big man had just two points in the first half. Wagner and Charles Matthews each picked up a pair of first half fouls.
Houston hanging around in 1st half
Duncan Robinson is 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, but Houston has hit three of their own from deep. Cougars star Rob Gray is 2-for-6 from the field with six points, and those are numbers Michigan will live with considering Gray scored 39 in Houston's opening round win over San Diego State.
As it stands, the Wolverines lead 20-17 with 7:35 remaining in the first half.
Robinson gets UM's offense going
Duncan Robinson got Michigan off the snide after an 0-for-7 start from the field. The senior knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers and the Wolverines have an 11-8 lead over Houston with 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
Note: 8 of Michigan's first 10 field goal attempts were from beyond the arc. That would be a staple of John Beilein's old teams, but this squad is a lot more balanced and needs to start getting to the rim.
Wolverines off to a slow start
Breaon Bray scored the game's first four points for Houston. Michigan started 0-for-4 from the field before Jon Teske split a pair at the charity stripe to get the Wolverines on the board. The slow start from the floor has continued (0-for-6) as at the first timeout with 15:43 on the clock, Michigan trails the Cougars 4-1.
Michigan vs. Houston
Tip-off: 9:40 p.m. Saturday, INTRUST Bank Arena, Wichita, Kan.
TV/radio: TBS/950 AM
Records: No. 3 seed Michigan is 29-7, No. 6 seed Houston is 27-7
Next up: Winner advances to Sweet 16 in Los Angeles