Indianapolis— Poor perimeter shooting. Careless turnovers. Defensive rebounding issues. A horrible first half.
No. 11 seed Michigan found a way to overcome it all in its first-round NCAA Tournament game against No. 6 Colorado State and extend its season for at least one more game.
The Wolverines put together a dominating second-half performance to rally from a 15-point deficit and advance to the Round of 32 with a 75-63 win on Thursday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Sophomore center Hunter Dickinson had 21 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots for Michigan (18-14), which outscored Colorado State 46-27 in the second half and shot 60% from the field after halftime (15-for-25).
BOX SCORE: Michigan 75, Colorado State 63
Freshman guard Frankie Collins added a season-high 14 points in his first start in place of DeVante’ Jones (concussion), while fifth-year senior guard Eli Brooks scored 16 and freshman forward Caleb Houstan 13.
Michigan advances to face the winner of No. 3 Tennessee-No. 14 Longwood on Saturday. Tip-off time and television is to be determined.
After trailing the entire first half and whittling a 15-point deficit down to seven by halftime, Michigan turned up the defense and kept chipping away with a 16-6 spurt. Dickinson deflected a pass out on the perimeter that Collins scooped up for a fast-break layup to cap a string of six unanswered points. Collins broke the seal from the 3-point line and made Michigan’s first deep ball to make it one-possession game, 41-38, less than three minutes into the second half.
After Houstan canned a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game, Brooks scooped up an offensive rebound and drained a jumper to give Michigan its first lead, 45-44, with 12:53 to play.
Colorado State countered with a three-point play from Chandler Jacobs and pulled ahead by four before Michigan responded with another flurry. Brooks made another mid-range jumper and found Houstan in the corner for a 3-pointer. Then after getting another stop, Collins dumped off a pass to Houstan for another deep ball that forced a Colorado State timeout.
The Rams tried to stop the bleeding with a 3-pointer, but the Wolverines attacked the basket and kept pushing. Collins followed a three-point play by Dickinson with a driving layup to cap a 17-6 run that put Michigan up, 62-55, with 5:35 remaining.
Colorado State used a 3-pointer to cut it to four but that’s as close as it would get the rest of the way. Michigan pushed the lead to 68-58 on a pair of free throws from freshman forward Moussa Diabate at the 2:40 mark. The Wolverines made five free throws in the final 54 seconds to seal it and finished 19-for-22 at the line.
Dischon Thomas had 15 points on five made 3-pointers, David Roddy finished with 13 points on 11 shots, and Kendle Moore scored 10 for Colorado State (25-6), which shot 29% from the floor in the second half (9- for-31). The Rams finished 12-for-35 from 3-point range and were outscored 34-16 in the paint.
Colorado State gave Michigan everything it could handle and got off to a hot start from beyond the arc. The Rams drained four of their first five 3-point attempts, with several coming off pick-and-pops. They hit three of those over Dickinson—two from Thomas and one from Isaiah Stevens—to jump out to a 14-7 lead with 15:18 left in the first half.
Meanwhile, the Wolverines looked like a team that was without its starting point guard and lacked direction on offense. Michigan scored 13 points and turned it over eight times in the opening 13 minutes. Many of those turnovers were unforced, like when Dickinson fired a pass out of bounds, freshman guard Kobe Bufkin stepped on the sideline, and sophomore forward Terrance Williams II had a pass intercepted and turned into a fast-break dunk that forced a Michigan timeout at 7:16 mark.
Compounding problems was cold perimeter shooting and some long rebounds and deflections led to rebounding issues for Michigan on the defensive end. David Roddy corralled his own missed shot and it led to a second-chance layup. The Rams sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a missed long-range jumper from Houstan to pull ahead 28-13 with 5:09 left in the half.
Collins snapped a 10-0 flurry with a three-point play and followed that with a steal and fast-break dunk. The Wolverines closed the half on a 16-8 run, cutting the deficit to 36-29 at the break despite being outscored 24-0 from 3-point range, committing nine turnovers, giving up eight offensive rebounds and not making a basket outside the paint.