MILWAUKEE (AP) — Texas coach Rick Barnes was impressed with Michigan’s outside shooting. He just didn’t think it was the biggest factor in the game.
It was all the little things that doomed the Longhorns.
Isiah Taylor scored 22 points, but Texas shot 37 percent from the field in a 79-65 loss to Michigan in the third round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday.
“People are going to talk about the 3s,” Barnes said. “Again, that’s not why we lost the game …, because that’s what they do. We had it to six a couple times and played some pretty good defense and didn’t come up with a couple loose balls that we have to come up with.”
Martez Walker added 14 points and seven rebounds for seventh-seeded Texas (24-11), which enjoyed a 41-30 rebounding edge. The Longhorns had 21 offensive rebounds alone, but Michigan shot 14 for 28 from 3-point range and committed just four turnovers.
“We knew that number, that rebounding number, we probably weren’t going to win today,” Wolverines coach John Beilein said. “We had to win the other numbers to win the possession number. Proud of only four turnovers.”
Nik Stauskas had 17 points and matched a career high with eight assists as Michigan (27-8) moved on to next week’s Midwest Regional semifinals in Indianapolis.
Michigan lost to Louisville in the national championship game a year ago. But the Wolverines are rolling again, thanks to strong outside shooting and Jordan Morgan’s work inside.
“What I do like about this team is they’ve never lost two in a row. They’ve been resilient,” Beilein said. “They get better in both victory and defeat.”
Jonathan Holmes had nine points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots for Texas, but Cameron Ridley was held to six points and nine boards. Ridley had 17 points and 12 rebounds in the Longhorns’ 87-85 victory over Arizona State in their first tournament game.
“I think we passed up Cam more than we should have,” Holmes said. “I think we attacked the offensive glass. I think we had to realize that Cam was down there and he’s a force and we should have used him more tonight.”
Texas trailed by 18 points early in the second half, but used its defense and rebounding to get back in the game. Walker hit two free throws and Taylor had a jumper to trim Michigan’s lead to 58-52.
That’s when Robinson stepped up for the Wolverines, driving inside for a score. After Connor Lammert turned it over for the Longhorns, Robinson hit a 3-pointer to make it 63-52 with 6:43 remaining.
“We’ve got to look at this game, and everybody in this room has to remember this feeling. It’s horrible,” Texas guard Demarcus Holland said.
Michigan was coming off a 57-40 victory over Wofford, while Texas advanced with a dramatic victory over Arizona State. The Longhorns and Sun Devils were tied in the final seconds when Ridley picked up a loose ball and banked it in as time expired.
It might have been the completely different games in the previous round or just Michigan’s advantage in tournament experience, but the Wolverines jumped all over the Longhorns at the start.
Michigan had a 43-30 lead at halftime, and it would have been a lot worse without Taylor’s slashing ability. The speedy freshman had the last four points of the half on a layup and two free throws, giving him a game-high 12 points at the break.
“We didn’t hit our shots in the first half and they were unconscious,” Lammert said.