Michigan survived a battle with Oklahoma State. Punch after counterpunch, either team would not give the other any space.
The Wolverines would eventually come out on top with a 92-91 victory over the Cowboys. It wasn't pretty by any means, but March is all about surviving and advancing. U-M head coach John Beilein said after the game that the Cowboys deserve all the credit for what they were able to do against his team.
And that starts with the head coach, Brad Underwood.
"Seeing play Sunday, it gave us some good prep time," Beilein said after the game. "That prep time didn't make me feel any better knowing the weapons that we were going to be facing. If somebody would have ever said that we're going to give up 91 and we were going to win, I wouldn't have thought that was going to happen. We had enough firepower to withstand their incredible offensive talent and get enough points. Just really compliment Oklahoma State. They had a great year. Really, I didn't know Brad Underwood at all. I have huge respect for who he is and that program. The Cowboy fans should feel lucky with the direction the program is going. Really happy for our guys. We had to make shots."
While you would've likely never predicted the outcome of the second half with the way both teams started the game. It was an extremely sluggish starts and the Wolverines weren't able to get any type of positive momentum.
Beilein says that the Oklahoma State pressure that was applied early contributed to settling for shot selections. Despite that, Beilein liked what he saw and was proud of the outcome.
"Early in the game, we settled way too much," Beilein said. "This is like seven games in a row, everybody switching every ball screen. We're used to it, but we settled a little bit. Their pressure bothered us early. Once we settled in, we were fine. Really proud of these kids and looking forward to playing the winner of this game right now."
Beilein admitted one of the key reasons the Cowboys were able to stay in the game was the ability to get their own offensive rebounds after missing shots. Once the Wolverines tightened that up in the second half, the tides started to change.
"I think when we did force them to miss, if you look at the numbers, they got offensive rebounds," Beilein said. "That was a big thing when they could get it. It's very difficult when you've got a downhill driver like that, he can throw anything off the board. The natural rotation is to go to the level of the ball. Guy's got a running start to come in. I think that was a huge difference in the game was their ability to -- those 13 rebounds, I betcha they were -- I can't say where it was, but I'm sure 20 points easily just going downhill. So it wasn't any magic. Now, sometimes, the ball just bounces your way off those rebounds. Maybe sometimes we do box out a little bit. But overall, we limited their possessions that we had earlier in the game, early in the half."