KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Like all season long, Michigan let its season hinge of the shoulders of senior captain Derrick Walton Jr.
This time, however, Walton would come up just short.
The senior pulled up for what would have been a game winning three-pointer, to it only hitting the front of the iron, and with that Michigan’s magical run in the NCAA Tournament with it, as No. 2 Oregon defeated the No. 7 Wolverines, 69-68, Thursday evening at Sprint Center.
Walton Jr. would lead Michigan with 20 points, including eight assists and five rebounds for his effort. Zak Irvin would add 19, as both seniors hit clutch shots for the Wolverines down the stretch run.
After trading buckets, Irvin’s baseline jumper put U-M 66-66, then Walton Jr., rolled home another home a bucket to put Michigan up 68-65, with 2:02 to go.
But Oregon would counter with buckets from Jordan Bell and Tyler Dorsey, who put the Ducks up for good with 1:07 to go.
Dorsey would lead the Ducks with 20 points, with Bell adding 16.
U-M finished 11-of-31 from 3s, with Oregon making 8-of-17. Both teams shot under 45% from the field.
With Oregon up 60-55, Michigan countered with back-to-back triples by Wilson and Walton Jr. to give U-M the 61-60 lead with 4:15 remaining. Brooks’ 3-pointer with 13:06 remaining put Oregon up, 50-44, and their biggest lead of the game. However, a Irvin jumper, followed by a Duncan Robinson 3-pointer, and another pull up jumper by Irvin, put U-M up 51-50, with 10:49 to go.
Oregon led 35-33 at the half.
Neither team shot particularly well in the first half, with OU shooting 41.4% compared to U-M’s 39.3%. Oregon’s struggles from the free-throw line, however, kept Michigan at arms reach, with the Ducks converting only 8-of-13 in the first half.
Besides Walton Jr.’s 11 points, on just 2-of-3 shooting, U-M’s struggled to covert easy scoring opportunities. D.J. Wilson opened the game with back-to-back 3s, but had to sit with seven minutes left in the first half after receiving his second foul. Wagner, who’s been red hot all post season, struggled, shooting 2-of-8, including 0-of-4 form 3, that included a few air balls.
Dorsey led the Ducks with 12 points at half.