Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 24 points and Moritz Wagner added 21 to help Michigan to a 99-72 win against Texas A&M in a Sweet 16 game Thursday in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
Michigan discovered its touch from behind the perimeter, finishing 13 for 23 on 3-pointers, including 10 successful 3-pointers in the first half.
WHY MICHIGAN WON: Michigan took control of the game early, building a 16-6 lead in the first seven minutes, on account of rebounding, a strong start from Moritz Wagner and inside defense. Michigan nullified Texas A&M’s inside presence and made the Aggies’ height a non-factor, and forced the Aggies to go to their outside shooters early. By the time Michigan built a 19-6 lead, Texas A&M was 3-for-11 from the floor, including 0-for-4 on 3-point attempts.
Michigan was on fire from behind the perimeter on the first half. The Wolverines went 10 for 16 in the first half on 3-pointers, en route to a 52-28 lead against Texas A&M.
Wagner scored five points early in the second half (he had 19 in the first 22 minutes) including a 3-pointer, to help the Wolverines to a lead of nearly 30 points. With about seven minutes left in the game, Michigan had five players in double figures in scoring, including Wagner and Muhammad-Ali Abdur Rakhman (19 points).
WHAT IT MEANS: Michigan advances to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2014. Michigan extends its win streak to 12 games, a run that dates back to Feb. 11.
WHO STARRED: Michigan’s perimeter shooters. All of them. The Wolverines finished 14 for 24 on 3-pointers, including a 10-for-16 effort in the first half. Abdur-Rahkman led the Wolverines with four 3-pointers. Michigan’s defense also stood out in the first half, forcing Texas A&M into making 11 turnovers.
WHO STUMBLED: It’s hard to say if anyone didn’t pull their weight for the Wolverines, especially in the first half. Michigan had eight different players score points in the win. Michigan’s rebounding was the only area that faltered, particularly in the first half. The Aggies outrebounded the Wolverines 19-15 in the first 20 minutes, and Texas A&M outrebounded the Wolverines 33 to 28.
WHO IS NEXT: Michigan faces either Florida State or Gonzaga on Saturday in an Elite Eight game in Los Angeles.
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