Oklahoma State fought to the wire on Friday, but Michigan used a barrage of second half threes to keep the Cowboys at bay and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, 92-91.
Jawun Evans just missed a triple double with 23 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds in what could’ve been his final game in an OSU uniform. Seniors Phil Forte and Leyton Hammonds scored 12 and 10 in their respective finales and Jeffrey Carroll had 19 points on just eight shots. Davon Dillard was the fifth man in double figures with 12.
But as good as the Cowboys were offensively, Michigan was just a little bit better. Senior point guard Derek Walton Jr. scored 26 and added 11 assists as the Wolverines shot 16-for-29 from deep, tying a Big Ten record for threes in an NCAA Tournament game.
This group of Cowboys fought till the bitter end. Here's what @OSUCoachBrad said to his team in the locker room after the game. #okstate pic.twitter.com/D0XmazP18g— Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) March 17, 2017
This group of Cowboys fought till the bitter end. Here's what @OSUCoachBrad said to his team in the locker room after the game. #okstate pic.twitter.com/D0XmazP18g
Oklahoma State trailed 41-40 at the break but opened the second half with a 12-5 run forcing John Beilein to call timeout. The Wolverines responded by scoring on each of their next six possessions including four threes. That burst sparked Michigan as Forte and Evans struggled to defend their counterparts on the perimeter.
Michigan carried a seven-point advantage after a pair of Duncan Robinson free throws with 23 seconds left. Then Carroll banked in a three and Dillard got a put back with 12 second remaining to make it 88-86. But Walton and forward D.J. Wilson would close out the game from the free throw line going 4-for-4 to ice the win for the Wolverines.
Michigan will play the winner of 2-seed Louisville and 15-seed Jacksonville State in the second round.
Evans has until May 24 to decide whether or not he’ll declare for the NBA Draft. If he elects to stay in Stillwater another year, Underwood will have some tough decisions to make regarding scholarships. Forte and Hammonds’ scholarships will open up but right now the Cowboys have four signed in the 2017 recruiting class plus Cincinnati transfer Yankuba Sima.