After allowing the Aztecs to start the game on a hot streak, Michigan’s defense switched to a man-to-man press and held them to four field goals over the first half. During that stretch, Michigan was in a position to capitalize on several San Diego State turnovers. This included a 3-pointer from freshman guard Hunter Dickinson. Dickinson led the way with 11 points, including four in the final minute of the half.
In the second half, Dickinson led the way with a career-high 19 points. Houston contributed nine points. The Wolverines committed only one turnover in the second period, making six of their first six attempts. Michigan shot 32.3% (13 of 25) from the field, and went six of 11 from beyond the 3-point arc, finishing with a career-high 15 rebounds. Brooks missed one shot and made eight of eight attempts. Penn State’s freshman starter MoussaDiabate played only seven minutes before he was forced to leave the game due an illness. Myles Dread didn’t return for the second period.
Dickinson won his first Big Ten title, and this victory was only Dickinson’s second. Dickinson, who averages 18.6 points per match, is the second-highest scoring sophomore from the country. He was second-team All-Big Ten last season. Dickinson will also play with Juwan Howard in the Big Ten next season.
Michigan will now move on to the Sweet Sixteen. It will face No. 2 Villanova on Tuesday night. TBS will broadcast the game at 7:29 p.m. ET. Dickinson’s post-game press conference remarks will be interesting to follow. He addressed the chants that urged Michigan to go to the NIT.
Michigan fans are feeling somewhat confused after a rocky start to the Big Ten season. While the Wildcats were unranked at the time of the tournament, they have fought back to win three games in a row. Their two wins against Indiana and Maryland on Jan. 18 have boosted their confidence, and Jared Townsend added 12 in a win over Northwestern on Wednesday.
The freshman season in Michigan was mixed. After losing to Ohio State, the Wolverines bouncedback with a win against Iowa, and then lost to Wisconsin at the Big Ten tournament final. In the postgame handshake line, Michigan coach Jimmy Howard got into an altercation with a Wisconsin assistant coach and hit him in the face. After that, players of both teams exchanged punches.