INDIANOPOLIS (AP) – Freshman Frankie Collins provided Michigan with the spark needed in a turbulent year for Wolverine and coach Juvan Howard, helping the 11th seeded Wolverine Rally with a 15-point deficit win Thursday’s sixth seeded 75th in the first NCAA Tournament.
Collins, who got into the starting lineup because of DeVante’s playmaker Jones dropped out due to a concussion, scored 14 points, six rebounds and 31 minutes. He went out on average less than 10 minutes per game.
Big man Hunter Dickinson led Michigan with 21 points while shooting 8 out of 10. Eli Brooks scored 16 points and Caleb Houston added 13 for Raamahi (18-14), who will meet Tennessee in the second round of the Southern Region on Saturday. Tennessee or with Longwood at number 14.
The Wolverines, who were highly touted at the start of the season, entered the tournament largely due to their busy schedules. Howard was disqualified for five games for hitting a Wisconsin assistant in the face during a post-game handshake, and Michigan did not win two games in a row for more than a month.
Dyshon Thomas scored 15 points in a 3-point shootout 5 of 7 for Colorado (25-6), and Mountain West Conference Player of the Year David Roddy had 13 points and 6 rebounds.
But the Rams have failed to take advantage of the highest seed in school history, a boost from nine wins in the previous 11 games or a great early lead.
Michigan turned the ball nine times in the first 12 and a half minutes to fall behind with a score of 28-13, but it all turned around when Howard re-introduced Collins. He finished six out of seven from the field and had only one turn.
Collins scored seven points in a row to reduce the deficit to eight, while Michigan closed 36-29 at the break.
He continued the attack at the beginning of the second half, completing the 6-0 break and dunking, making the score 38-35. And when in the middle of the second half Houston made three in a row, Michigan led 53-49.
Wolverines never lagged behind, closing it on the line of free throws.
The big picture
Michigan: A year ago Wolverines won the crown of the Big Ten of the regular season and achieved one victory before reaching the Final Four. Most of these players decided to return in pursuit of Michigan’s second national title. After an early balancing act, the Wolverines gave themselves a chance – especially when Jones returns this weekend.
Colorado: The Rams are back from the NIT team, which finished third last season. It is unlikely they were lucky again next fall. While this was probably Nick Bear’s best coaching job, it wasn’t like Rams expected to return home.
Michigan: moves within one win after the fifth consecutive appearance of Sweet 16.
Colorado: will use this offseason to regroup and reboot.
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