The No. 1-seeded University of Michigan men’s basketball team staged a second-half comeback to earn an 86-78 win over LSU at Lucas Oil Stadium and advance to the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive tournament.
Senior Chaundee Brown Jr. had a Michigan career-high 21 points and was key to the surge, scoring seven of the Wolverines’ nine points during a run midway through the second half. Senior Eli Brooks collected 21 points as he matched his career high of five three-pointers while adding a team-high seven assists. Freshman Hunter Dickinson picked up a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and sophomore Franz Wagner had 15 points, with nine coming in the final five minutes of the game.
LSU had a hot start shooting and jumped out to a nine-point advantage, 30-21, with 7:26 left in the first half. Brown came off the bench and sparked a 6-0 Wolverine run that pulled the team within three, 30-27, at 6:43.
One minute later, down 36-29, Michigan used a 12-4 run over a span of 5:07 to take the lead, 43-40. Wagner had five points and drew two fouls as Michigan finished strong, shooting 7-for-10 in the closing minutes. LSU hit just one of its final 10 shots of the half, and Michigan took a 43-42 lead into the locker room.
The Tigers did not turn over the ball once in the half and were a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Cameron Thomas had 19 points to lead his team.
The second half saw large swings both ways as the teams tried to assert control. LSU came out on a 9-2 run to start the final 20 minutes and regained a six-point lead, 51-45, four minutes into the second session.
Following a media timeout at 15:42, graduate student Mike Smith and Brooks both made threes to kick off a 10-0 run for the Wolverines and push Michigan ahead, 55-51, at the 13:17 mark.
The Tigers responded with a 10-3 burst over the next two minutes before Michigan put it in another gear. Over the next 4:25, Brown drained two three-pointers and went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe for 12 of Michigan’s 14 points as the Wolverines took a 72-64 lead with less than six minutes to play.
The Wolverines earned the first double-digit lead of the game, 80-70, at 3:27 with Wagner getting a hot hand and hitting 4-of-4 including a three.
LSU pulled within six, 84-78, and got the ball back off a turnover. However, Brooks grabbed a defensive rebound, was fouled and made both free throws to secure the win.
Michigan will take on fourth-seeded Florida State in an East Regional semifinal on Sunday (March 28).