BASKETBALL: Wolverines Sweet 16 Bound with Win over Florida

DES MOINES, Iowa — Forcing Florida to up the tempo of its game in the second half, the University of Michigan men’s basketball team ran to a 64-49 victory over the Gators in the second round of the West Regional on Saturday (March 23) afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.

U-M advances to the Sweet 16 for the third straight season with its decisive win over Florida. With the win, Michigan earned the fifth 30-win season in the history of the program and third under head coach John Beilein.

The Wolverine defense held Florida to just 28.6 percent shooting in the second half and 34.5 percent for the game.

Sophomore Jordan Poole had a big game on the offensively, scoring 19 points and draining four three-pointers, while Isaiah Livers also tallied a double-digit effort with 10 points. Michigan saw balanced scoring as senior Charles Matthews and sophomore Zavier Simpsonscored nine each and junior Jon Teske netted eight. In all, Michigan used 34 points in the paint and 11 off turnovers to secure its victory over Florida.

Simpson was one assist shy of double figures, handing out nine, while bringing down nine rebounds. Teske led the Wolverines on the glass with 10 boards and Matthews had two blocks and two steals.

Poole scored eight points in a two-minute span, including two three-pointers, to help Michigan jump out to a 15-6 advantage over the Gators. Florida responded with 11 unanswered to cut the Wolverine lead to one, 15-14, with 12:23 left in the first half.

The Michigan offense struggled for a four-minute period, and the Gators took advantage to tie the game at 21 with 7:18 to play in the opening frame. The teams kept the game within three points until Livers hit a key trey with 1:10 remaining in the half and the Wolverines took a 32-28 advantage into the locker room at halftime.

Matthews, Poole and Simpson led the Wolverine offense with seven points each, while Simpson dished out three assists and Teske grabbed seven boards in the first 20 minutes.

Michigan came out of the break to score the first 11 points of the half, including six from Poole to bring his total to 13 early in the second half. Florida followed it up with a nine-point burst to bring the U-M lead back to single digits, 43-37, with 14:20 remaining.

An and-one from Livers, two freebies from Simpson and a big finish from Teske put the Michigan lead back to double-digits, 55-44, and forced the Gators to burn a timeout with just under five minutes to play. Michigan forced Florida to up its tempo offensively as it continued to build on its lead with a monstrous dunk from Livers off a pass from Simpson in transition.

With two minutes remaining, Poole shut the door on the game when he dropped his fourth three-pointer before Livers and Matthews followed it up with two more dunks with under a minute to play.

Michigan advances to the Sweet 16 in Anaheim, California, and will take on the winner of Sunday’s matchup between No. 3 seed Texas Tech and No. 6 seed Buffalo on Thursday (March 28). The time and network for that contest are to be announced.

 

Release By MGoBlue.Com