NCAA Tournament: Streaking Michigan routs Texas A&M 99-72 in West semifinals

Aubrey Yates
March 24, 2018

Playing in front of a raucous pro-Michigan crowd at the Staples Center on Thursday afternoon (March 22), the University of MI men's basketball team used a first-half scoring barrage en route to a lopsided 99-72 victory over seventh-seeded Texas A&M.

After reaching the NCAA tournament's round of 16 with an improbable buzzer-beater, MI shot 62 percent from the floor and routed Texas A&M 99-72 in the West Region semifinals on Thursday night to reach the Elite Eight for the third time in six years.

MI was shooting 57.1 percent in the first half and 67.9 percent in the second.

-This is easily John Beilein's best defensive team with the Wolverines.

Tyler Davis led the seventh-seeded Aggies with 24 points. Texas A&M could merely chip away with 2-pointers, mainly from its N.B.A. -sized front line, with three starters and the main backup measuring 6-foot-10 or 6-foot-9. Eight players made at least one 3-pointer, which set a new single-game NCAA record.

Texas A&M saw their NCAA Tournament run ended on Thursday in emphatic fashion.

MI shot a blazing 62 percent from the floor, made 14 of 24 from beyond the arc and turned the ball over just six times against what was supposedly a good Aggies defense.

In the 2016-17 season, Texas A&M was considered one of the biggest disappointments in all of college basketball.

"I'm really proud of our team, because we beat a really good team, " MI coach John Beilein said after the game.

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The Wolverines, who averaged nine made threes a game this season, hit 10-of-16 threes in the first half and led by 29, 52-23, on Robinson's 3-pointer with 2:16 left in the first half. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had 24 points to lead the Wolverines. Though they don't have many stars or a collection of NBA Draft lottery picks, overlook them at your own peril because few compete on every play quite like this team does and all that hard work is certainly paying off in the pressure-packed arena of the NCAA Tournament. If foes weren't able to get through the hardened defense the first time around, they were better off hoping that MI would miss its shot on the ensuing possession.

"A&M is a football school so coming over here, I know we had a lot of fans hoping to see our basketball team make a name for themselves, but unfortunately it couldn't happen", said A&M Senior David Hartmann. Florida State hasn't appeared in the Final Four since reaching the national championship in 1972. The Wolverines, who had one first-half turnover, had a season-high 58 points in the second half of a 102-64 victory over Chaminade on November 21.

After missing its first shot of the game, MI connected on four-straight - which included a bank shot from Wagner that was preceded by a behind-the-back dribble move - to claim an early 9-2 lead.

For the success the program has had in recent years - it's their third trip to the Elite Eight in six years - Beilein tried to downplay any notion that the Wolverines have found some kind of unique postseason recipe for success.

The 2012 Heisman Trophy victor made the trip to Los Angeles after throwing passes at the University of San Diego's pro day in the morning.

Maybe if Davis, Starks and Admon Gilder all return - I'm assuming Williams is gone - Texas A&M can be that team that puts it all together at the flawless time like MI appears it's doing right now.

Wagner finds his groove: In the first two games of the NCAA tournament, MI junior forward Moritz Wagner didn't produce offense at his usual rate.

It's very tough picking against the Seminoles after witnessing what they just did to Xavier and Gonzaga.

In the first half, A&M turned the ball over 14 times and added four more in the second half.

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