AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Michigan men’s basketball team led for nearly the entire game, earning a 59-52 victory over the Texas Longhorns in its final non-conference road game of the season on Tuesday night (Dec. 12) at the Frank Erwin Center.
Senior Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman recorded his first career double-double with 17 points and 10
rebounds to pace the Wolverines. Junior Charles Matthews nearly joined Abdur-Rahkman with 12 bounds and eight rebounds, while junior Moritz Wagner and fifth-year senior Duncan Robinson posted 10 points each. Abdur-Rahkman and Matthews helped U-M outrebound UT, 40-31.
Both teams got off to a slow start, and Texas got the first basket of the game, but once Michigan settled in and got going with back-to-back threes from Robinson and Abdur-Rahkman, the Wolverines led the rest of the way. With U-M up 8-6, it then went on an 8-0 run to push its lead to 10, 16-6, at the 7:30 mark. Michigan’s seniors, Robinson and Abdur-Rahkman accounted for nine of its first 16 points.
Texas pulled within five points, 18-13, with 6:08 remaining in the opening half, but Abdur-Rahkman scored two consecutive layups and Wagner took a charge on the defensive end to put the momentum back on U-M’s favor.
Matthews came alive in the final minutes of the half, outscoring Texas 6-1 in the last 1:38, on a pair of free throws, a catch-and-shoot jumper and a drive from the right wing. The Wolverines held a 32-20 advantage at the halftime break. Michigan was shooting 52 percent at the half, while the Longhorns managed just 30 percent.
Texas held the upper hand in the early minutes of the second half, outscoring the Wolverines, 11-3, to cut Michigan’s lead to four, 35-31, at 17:38.
Michigan’s signature three-point shooting proved to be dangerous once again, as a triple from Matthews, following by consecutive threes from Wagner and another layup from Matthews quickly gave U-M its largest lead of the game (14), 48-34, with 11:17 left in the game.
Each time Texas attempted to chip away at Michigan’s lead, Abdur-Rahkman seemed to have an answer. He hit a key three-pointer to keep U-M’s lead at double-digits, 53-43. Then, after a pair of field goals from the Longhorns cut the Maize and Blue’s lead to six, 53-47, Abdur-Rahkman added another bucket and a free throw, not allowing Texas a chance at a comeback.
Free throws sealed the deal for the Wolverines down the stretch and gave Michigan the 59-52 win. Tonight’s game marked U-M’s first time playing at UT’s Frank Erwin Center, and the Wolverines pushed their all-time series lead to 5-2 — including 2-0 in the last two meetings. Last season’s meeting was a close, low-scoring affair as well, when U-M pulled out a 53-50 win at Crisler Center.
Next up, Michigan will have the opportunity to play its first game inside the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan, where it will take on Detroit Mercy on Saturday (Dec. 16). The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU at noon.