Michigan 3-point attack too much for Texas to overcome

Akshay Mirchandani

Texas watched as Michigan shot 3-pointer after 3-pointer in the first half at Imperial Arena on Friday night. The result was mostly the same — the bottom of the net.

The first-half barrage proved too much for Texas to overcome as the Wolverines beat the Longhorns, 78-72, in the fifth-place game at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Texas leaves the Bahamas with sixth place.

Michigan hit its first three less than a minute into the game and were unstoppable from deep. The Wolverines were 11 of 17 from three in the first half and went into halftime up, 44-32.

Texas opened the second half on a 6-1 run, sparked by two buckets from senior center Cameron Ridley. Texas held Michigan to three 3-pointers in the second half, but one of those gave Michigan its largest lead of the game at 58-45 with 11:46 left.

It was then when Texas went to head coach Shaka Smart’s calling card — a full-court press. The defense injected new life into the Longhorns, helping Texas force turnovers that turned into points.

Michigan turned the ball over eight times in the second half, and three of those were Texas steals.

The rally came to a head when junior guard Isaiah Taylor drove to the rim and converted an and-1 layup to cut Michigan’s lead to 67-66. That was the closest Texas got.

Junior guard Zak Irvin hit a three with 3:03 left to play to cap off an 8-0 Michigan run after Taylor’s bucket. That 3-pointer, along with the other 13 Michigan knocked down, proved to be the difference.

The Longhorns return to Austin to prepare for UT-Arlington. The Mavericks visit the Frank Erwin Center on Tuesday.