Albrecht Clutch Three, Takes Out Orange

Spike Albrecht's late three leads No. 17 Michigan to 68-65 win over Syracuse Tuesday night.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, it’s about picking your spot and making the best of the opportunity when given. And Michigan’s Spike Albrecht was just waiting for that opportunity to present itself on Tuesday night..

And he picked a perfect time to capitalize on it.

In front of a sold-out crowd at Crisler Center, No. 17 Michigan was getting everything they could handle from Syracuse in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

With the game tied at-63 with under a minute remaining, U-M coach John Beilein called a timeout to setup U-M’s next play. All night Beilein had told his players to attack the zone and look for their players outside. Up to that point, Michigan had already taken 32 three-point attempts, making 10. P> But what the Wolverines would need – is just one more.

And Albrecht was the player to do it.

Coming out of a timeout, Derrick Walton Jr. drove through the heart of the Syracuse zone, and found an open Albrecht on the outside waiting.

“He ended up drawing the defense in,” Albrecht said of Walton Jr. “I don’t know how he found me, but he made great kick out. And fortunately I was able to knock it down.”

His shot would roll around the rim for what seemed like an eternity, but would eventually drop to give the Wolverines the 66-63 lead with :30 seconds left in the game.

“I was a little nervous,” Albrecht said. “It did a little toilet bowl action on me. But God was with me on that one.”

Or maybe, just maybe, Albrecht knew he had the hot hand that night.

“Spike told me earlier in the game, probably a couple possessions earlier that he was really feeling it,” Caris LeVert said. “He hadn’t taken a shot yet since he told me that. So I knew it was good soon as it left his hands.”

Michigan beat Syracuse, 68-65.

Albrecht finished with 12 points, shooting 3-of-5 from 3s, and an efficient nine assists to zero turnover ratio against ‘Cuse’s 2-3 zone. But his ability to read the zone, it what really impressed his coach.

“Spike is really good at attacking zones,” Beilein said. “He sees behind the zone. He makes that entry pass into the dot area , into the high post area better than anybody.”

Through seven games, Albrecht is scoring 6.1 ppg while shooting 47.4 percent from 3s. And after taking another big shot for Michigan, his coach just wants him to keep shooting, and shoot some more.

“It is something we believe he can do,” Beilein said. “And that was my encouragement to him this year. ‘Spike, we need you to score. This team cannot score like last year if you are just setting people up. Shoot the ball when you are open -- you’re really good at it.’”

Michigan (6-1) plays host to NJIT (2-4) this Saturday at noon at the Crisler Center.

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