Prior to Friday evening, Tennessee was 25-0 in three seasons under coach Cuonzo Martin when shooting 50 percent from the field, including a 10-0 mark in 2013-14. Twenty-five games is more than a trend. Twenty-five games drifts into the realm of a foregone conclusion. Tennessee shot 52.6 percent from the field on Friday night. That conclusion? It was contradicted. Michigan held on for a 73-71 win over the Vols and powered forward to an Elite Eight date with Kentucky on Sunday (5:15 p.m., TV: CBS). But how did the Wolverines do it? How did they negate a constant measure of success? Well, three is always more than two. "We shoot a lot of 3s," Michigan coach John Beilein said Friday night. "Usually we're going to take what they give us." Tennessee gave the Wolverines 20 looks from beyond the arc. They made 11 of them. Now through three NCAA tournament games, Michigan has made 24 more 3-pointers than its opponents, owning a 32-8 edge. "We're fortunate we did get some of those to drop," Beilein said, understating a performance that gave U-M a 33-9 scoring edge from the arc. It made up for the Vols outscoring Michigan 44-28 in the paint. The Wolverines' first-half 3-point barrage left Tennessee stumbling. Seven of the team's nine 3s fell, delivered by four different players. The result was a 45-34 halftime lead against a UT team that allowed only 54.0 points per game in its previous eight outings. "There are times this year when our offense is clicking, that, if you can put 45 on a team in one half, you've got a pretty good team and now you just have to guard (the opponent) a little bit," Beilein said. Two of the 3s came from Zak Irvin. Like he's done again and again, the freshman guard came off the bench to deliver game-changing gumption. The former Mr. Basketball in Indiana hit back-to-back 3-pointers to erase a 21-20 Tennessee lead in the first half and spark a 14-5 run over 5 minutes, 22 seconds. Additional 3s came from Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert in the stretch. Michigan delivered haymaker after haymaker. "It wasn't a surprise that they were going to come out and hit shots, but our job was to try to run them off the line as best we could and make them drive," Tennessee senior Jeronne Maymon said. "They still found a way to stay in their game."
Michigan's 3-point shooting continues to serve as neutralizer
Michigan Live | Mar 29