Michigan blows lead, falls to Indiana in Big Ten basketball tournament

Indianapolis— Michigan looked like it was well on its way to advancing to the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.

The Wolverines built a 17-point lead against the ninth-seeded Hoosiers with under 13 minutes to play. They were in complete control and seemingly on the verge of turning the second-round game into a blowout. At least, that was until everything completely fell apart.

Costly turnovers and an ice-cold offensive stretch doomed eighth-seeded Michigan as it collapsed in a 74-69 loss to Indiana Thursday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, where coach Juwan Howard was back on the sidelines after his five-game suspension.

“We feel like we had this game,” said grad transfer guard DeVante’ Jones, who finished with a team-high 18 points. “We let it slip away.”

BOX SCORE: Indiana 74, Michigan 69

Michigan (17-14) had a chance to solidify its NCAA Tournament case and make Selection Sunday less stressful. Instead, the Wolverines blew it and imploded. They were outscored 31-9 over the final 12 minutes as they missed 15 of 17 shots and committed eight turnovers, including one with 10 seconds left when it was a two-point game.

The tide started to turn when Xavier Johnson buried a 3-pointer to kick-start a string of nine unanswered points with 11:02 to play. During the stretch, the Wolverines had two shots blocked at the rim and turned the ball over twice, with both turnovers leading to baskets by Trayce Jackson-Davis that cut the lead to eight.

Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (23) celebrates a basket in front of Michigan center Hunter Dickinson (1) in the second half.

After fifth-year senior guard Eli Brooks (17 points) temporarily stopped the bleeding with two free throws to make it a 10-point game, everything continued to snowball. The turnovers and missed shots piled up. The offense was disjointed. Sophomore center Hunter Dickinson, who scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half, rarely touched the ball.

“They came out being for physical than us. They brought more energy, more effort in the second half,” said Jones, who had three turnovers during a two-minute span. “On defense there were multiple breakdowns that hurt us, and on offense as well.

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