Mar. 20, 1997
Irish Drop Heartbreaker in NIT Quarterfinals
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Brandun Hughes sank a jumper from the free-throw line with 7.6 seconds left to lift Michigan to a 67-66 victory over Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament.
Robert Traylor had 26 points and 13 rebounds and Maurice Taylor added 16 points for Michigan (22-11), which improved to 13-4 all-time in the NIT. The Wolverines will meet Arkansas in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York on Tuesday.
"It was fun out there tonight," Michigan coach Steve Fisher said. "I am very proud of our team. It was tough all night inside both teams. Notre Dame deserves a lot of credit they played very tough and never gave up. We have been capable all season of being a good team. We have seen our share of difficulties this year, but we have a overcome them. We are now headed to New York to show people that we are a good team."
"That's the shot we wanted him (Hughes) to take," Notre Dame forward Pat Garrity said. "We forced him into a double clutch from the foul line, and he hit the shot. He just made a great play."
Garrity scored 23 points and Admore White added 14 for Notre Dame (16-14), which fell to 6-12 all-time against Michigan. The Fighting Irish, playing their third straight home game, had a chance to win the game but White missed a tough reverse layup in traffic at the buzzer.
"I saw him going baseline, I put my head up and got a piece of it," said Traylor about White's shot. "It was good defense by the guards to force White to the baseline. I said a couple of days ago that we're here to win this tournament, and tonight we just proved we're not going to back down to anybody."
"I told them that they had a great year," said Notre Dame coach John MacLeod about his speech to his team. "They came from nowhere, they had great character and heart and accomplished a great deal more than anyone thought they possibly could, and thank goodness they didn't listen to what the people said. It really is a great group."
Michigan never trailed until Garrity converted a three-point play to give the Fighting Irish a 66-63 lead with 1:37 remaining. Taylor's dunk pulled Michigan within 66-65 with 1:20 left.
"After halftime, Coach Fisher told me to contain Garrity," Taylor said. "Pat's a good player. We played together last summer, and I know what he's capable of doing. So I wasn't surprised to see him make tough shots like he did, because great players make those kind of shots."
The Wolverines scored the game's first nine points and took a 14-2 lead on Travis Conlan's free throw with 12:04 left. Maceo Baston, who had six points and five rebounds, made a short hook shot to give Michigan its biggest lead 21-6 with 8:18 left in the first.
Matt Gotsch's 16-footer capped a 12-0 run and pulled Notre Dame within 24-23 with 4:44 remaining in the first half. Taylor and Traylor answered with consecutive jumpers to give Michigan a 28-23 advantage with 3:55 left.
Michigan shot just 36 percent (12-for-33) from the field in the first half but held a 32-28 lead.
Notre Dame Coach John MacLeod:
(On what he told the players after the game): "I told them that they had a great year. They came from nowhere, they had great character and heart and accomplished a great deal more than anyone thought they possibly could . . . and thank goodness they didn't listen to what the people said. It really is a great group."
(On the crowd): "The fans have been terrific. They have been with us from the beginning . . . this was the best crowd I have seen at Notre Dame since I've been here. This group of fans has come to respect and appreciate what this group of college kids has accomplished."
Senior Guard Admore White:
(On his missed free throw): "I went up to the line thinking I'd make it. I just shit it long and it hit the back of the rim. I just had to shake it off. There's nothing I can do about it now."
Junior Forward Pat Garrity:
(On Brandun Hughes' winning shot): "That's the shot we wanted him to take. We forced him into a double clutch from the foul line, and he hit the shot. He just made a great play."
(On the impact of seniors White, Matt Gotsch, Pete Miller and Marcus Young): "It's impossible to measure what the four seniors bring to this team. You can't tell anything just by looking at their numbers; they do so much more than that. They all bring a lot of leadership and confidence to this team. It will be hard next year without those four guys."
Michigan Coach Steve Fisher:
(On missed free throws): "Throughout this whole year we have been on the losing end because of free throws. Tonight we finally caught a break with free throws. We have stuck together all season working together to be a better team."
(On Robert Traylor): We were not sure if he was going to be able to play tonight. He played magnificent tonight. It was nice to see him play so weel."
(On the Michigan team): "We have been capable all season of being a good team. We have seen our share of difficulties this year, but we have overcome them. We are now headed to New York to show people that we are a good team."
Michigan's Robert Traylor:
(On being in the NIT): "I said a couple of days ago that we're here to win this tournament, and tonight just proved that we're not going to back down to anybody."
Michigan's Brandun Hughes:
MICHIGAN (67) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp M Taylor 38 8-12 0-0 4-6 0 1 16 Baston 16 3-6 0-0 1-5 1 5 6 Traylor 38 12-18 2-6 6-13 0 3 26 Bullock 36 3-8 3-4 0-3 1 4 12 Conlan 37 0-4 1-2 0-3 9 2 1 Hughes 26 2-9 0-0 0-1 2 2 5 Ward 3 0-2 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 Streets 4 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 1 0 Vignier 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 28-59 7-14 11-32 13 19 67 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.475, FT-.500. 3-Point Goals: 4-13, .308 (Bullock 3-6, Conlan 0-2, Hughes 1-4, Ward 0-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 1 (Baston). Turnovers: 14 (Traylor 4, Hughes 3, Baston 2, Bullock 2, Conlan 2, M Taylor). Steals: 5 (Bullock 2, Conlan, M Taylor, Traylor). NOTRE DAME (66) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Garrity 40 8-16 7-9 0-8 3 2 23 Manner 24 1-2 0-2 0-1 0 3 2 Hickey 14 1-3 1-1 1-2 0 2 3 White 40 5-10 3-5 1-6 13 2 14 Miller 32 5-7 0-0 0-0 1 4 13 Wyche 8 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Lalazarian 9 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 3 2 Friel 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Dillon 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Gotsch 20 4-5 0-1 0-6 0 1 8 Young 11 0-0 1-2 1-2 1 1 1 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 25-49 12-20 3-25 18 18 66 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.510, FT-.600. 3-Point Goals: 4-15, .267 (Garrity 0-3, White 1-5, Miller 3-5, Wyche 0-1, Friel 0-1). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 5 (Gotsch 3, Hickey 2). Turnovers: 13 (Garrity 6, Hickey 2, White 2, Lalazarian, Manner, Miller). Steals: 5 (White 2, Garrity, Hickey, Young). __________________________________ Michigan 32 35 - 67 Notre Dame 28 38 - 66 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 7,483. Officials: James Copenhaver, Ron Berkholtz, Jim Jenkins.