Florida State should have won that game against MI
Florida State should have won that game against MI
Final Four preview: No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 11 Loyola Chicago — keys to victory
26 March, 2018, 01:40
LOS ANGELES - Perhaps the biggest question surrounding Saturday's Elite Eight game of the West Regional between No. 3 MI and No. 9 Florida State was whether the "junkyard dog" defense of the Seminoles would be able to stifle a Wolverines team that scored 99 points in its Sweet 16 victory over Texas A&M on Thursday.
In the final play of the game, Florida State missed a horribly low percentage three-point shot and then decided not to foul with over ten-seconds left in the game.
Florida State's relentless defense forced seven turnovers in the first 16:04. Give Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton credit, he knew what MI could do well coming into the game and he made sure they didn't get to do it.
Hamilton would get a $275,000 bonus if Florida State defeats MI. And suddenly the Wolverines were ahead 38-28. They also knew it didn't matter, because Florida State troubled the twine even less.
The Wolverines discovered early on that they wouldn't be able to run away from the Seminoles with the same ease they used in the Sweet Sixteen to dispatch Texas A&M, scoring 99 points on almost 62 percent shooting.
The game had evolved into the grinder that is so much a part of college basketball.
Not on this night as all that defense just kept it close with MI leading one, 27-26, at intermission. "It's about who is going to play better".
The Wolverines had made 6-of-14 shots at the 7:59 mark and only 1-of-7 triples against FSU's stout defense, but still tied it on two Wagner free throws.
MI got out to a 10-4 lead with just over three minutes gone, and it appeared the Wolverines might be in for another high-scoring night.
Abdur-Rahkman hit only one of two free throws, and FSU cut it to three on a P.J. Savoy triple.
Clayton Cluster is the team's leading scorer at 13.2 points per game, but five players average double figures - and that doesn't include senior Ben Richardson, who had 23 points to lead the team in its Elite Eight win vs. Kansas State.
MI will take on No. 11 seed Loyola in the Final Four next Saturday for a shot at the championship game.
Staples Center was largely packed with maize-and-blue fans of the Wolverines, who have a vast alumni base in California.
But after trailing 15-10, the Seminoles tied it at 15-15 on a basket by Cofer and a three-pointer by PJ Savoy.
Phil Cofer got Florida State's only two field goals in the last 7 1/2 minutes before the break.
But at the half, it was MI, 27-26.
Still, Michigan shot only 33 percent in the first half, compared with 43 percent for the Seminoles. "Loyola's going to sell every ticket they can get".
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