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NCAA Basketball - Arizona 72, Michigan 70

4:27 PM, Dec 14, 2013   |    comments
Arizona Wildcats center Kaleb Tarczewski (35) dunks in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines at Crisler Center. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
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ANN ARBOR (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Michigan had everything it wanted. The ball, the clock and a chance to bounce the nation's No. 1 team, Arizona, at home.

The only thing missing? The lead, trailing by one. Nik Stauskas clanged a short jumper with about 10 seconds remaining. After that, Michigan was sliding down the mountain.

Though they made a last-second push, there was not another chance like that. Saturday ended with a 72-70 heartbreaking loss at Crisler Center.

In the Wolverines' last chance for a notable non-conference win and, leading for much of the game until 2 ½ minutes remaining, it will hurt that much more.

Michigan fell to 6-4 on the season and the raucous crowd at Crisler left disappointed, watching the Wolverines make just three baskets in the final eight minutes of the game.

Arizona (11-0), meanwhile, kept coming in the paint and in the final minutes, hit seven of the final eight free throws, only missing the last one to run out the clock.

Despite leading by nine at halftime, Michigan knew it wasn't going to be that easy and Arizona would try to take away Glenn Robinson III after a dominant first half, where he had 16 points and did a good job, allowing him only four in the second.

Even with the Wildcats hitting nine of their first 12 shots, Michigan sustained its lead, mostly because the offensive baton passed to Caris LeVert.

LeVert had only five points in the first half but followed his Duke path and exploded after the break scoring 10 of Michigan's first 12 points after halftime, then threw an alley-oop to Robinson.

Michigan's lead peaked at eight, 58-50 with just under eight minutes remaining, before Arizona's 6-0 run got the Wildcats close setting up the back and forth final

Michigan entered the game with many reasons to expect the worst.

Arizona was allowing just 27% from three-point range. The Wildcats were dominant on the glass with a 14-rebound per game margin. And Robinson was just another average player.

Yet in the first half, the Wolverines did everything they needed to for a 37-28 halftime lead.

They shot 54.5% from three-point range in the half with six threes. Led by Jon Horford, they were aggressive in the paint and trailed only by two rebounds at the break, allowing only 14 points in the paint before the first half.

And Robinson played the best half of his career with 16 points, attacking the hoop and hitting a step-back three at the buzzer.

Contact Mark Snyder: msnyder@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @mark__snyder.

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