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Posted on Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

Duke hangs on to end Michigan's season, 73-71, in NCAA tournament

By Michael Rothstein


Jordan Morgan (52) and the rest of the Michigan basketball team stuck with Duke in NCAA tournament action Sunday, but came up just shy in a 73-71 loss.

Jake Drake | Icon Sports Media

Updated 8:15 p.m.

CHARLOTTE — Darius Morris made this shot countless times before in the parks of Los Angeles, at Windward High School, even for the Michigan basketball team’s first basket Sunday.

At the end, the little floating jump shot from just inside the free-throw line was open again. And the shot he almost always sinks hit the rim and caromed off.

One six-inch bounce that ended up being the difference between overtime and top-seeded Duke advancing to the Sweet 16 with a 73-71 over eighth-seeded Michigan in the NCAA tournament.

One bounce that left Morris, walk-on Corey Person and redshirt freshman forward Jordan Morgan almost inconsolable in the Michigan locker room. One bounce that kept Michigan from one of the most signature wins in its program history.

One bounce.

“When it left my hand, I thought it was going to overtime,” Morris said.

“I was positive it was going in. I was right behind him, it was straight and he’s made it before. Just hit back rim,” Morgan said.

“I pumped my fist, thought it was going in. Thought we were going to overtime. We fought so hard, I thought there was no way it was not going in, but it was inches away,” said junior guard Stu Douglass, open at the 3-point line on the final possession.

As the shot fell away, Morris grabbed the back of his maize No. 4 jersey, took a few steps and fell down, crushed. He and Michigan (21-14) had fought from 12 points down against Duke (32-4), a team that doesn’t fritter leads away easily.


  • First Star: Nolan Smith, Duke
    The Naismith Player of the Year finalist had a game-high 24 points, including a personal 10-0 run in the second half that helped the Blue Devils lead by as many as 15 points.

  • Second Star: Kyrie Irving, Duke
    The freshman point guard made a floater to give Duke a 72-69 lead in the final minute. Although he didn't have huge numbers (11 points, two assists) Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said the Blue Devils would have lost without him.

  • Third Star: Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan
    The freshman guard carried Michigan to the brink of toppling top-seeded Duke, scoring seven straight points to cut the lead to one, 70-69. He finished with 15 points.

  • Readers’ choice

All season, the Wolverines made late runs. They forced overtime against Kansas and scared Ohio State, and rallied from 15 behind to beat Illinois in the Big Ten quarterfinals, a win that pushed them into the NCAA tournament.

So Michigan almost expected this run to come, even if it was against Duke and its legendary coach, Mike Krzyzewski, who picked up his 900th win Sunday.

Morris hit free-throw line jumpers for part of his team-high 16 points, Morgan had layups and dunks and then freshman guard Tim Hardaway Jr. scored seven straight points, including a 3-pointer, to cut the Duke lead to one point, 70-69, with 1:28 remaining.

Michigan had rallied again.

“We just did what we’ve done all year,” Morgan said. “We looked dead in the water and just refused to give up. Just fight and fight and fight and fought back and refused to give up, roll over and let them just walk over us.

“We didn’t care what they were ranked or what they were supposed to do. We wanted to win.”

Duke had a chance to end Michigan’s chances fast in the second half. Nolan Smith, one of the four finalists for the Naismith Player of the Year Award, scored 10 straight points midway through the second half.

His run, part of his game-high 24 points, gave Duke a 49-39 lead with 14:12 left, and the Blue Devils looked like they might coast.

Michigan switched to the 1-3-1 zone defense the Wolverines practiced often this year but rarely used. It slowed Duke down, didn’t give Smith and freshman point guard Kyrie Irving driving lanes and let Michigan slowly climb back.


It gave the Wolverines confidence they might do what junior guard Zack Novak suggested a day earlier, when he said in one of these games against a top-ranked team, they’d “get over the hump.”

(Full box score).

The hump resurrected itself in the final seconds when Morris’ shot fell away.

Michigan walked into its locker room and it stayed almost silent, save for when Wolverines head coach John Beilein had his team sing the school fight song, ‘The Victors.’ None of the players could say anything, wanted to say anything.

What else could they say?

“As soon as that buzzer ends and you look up and you’re on that losing score and you’re on the losing end, it definitely hits you,” Morris said. “That’s it.

“That’s the end of the season.”

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein



Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

While I am not a fan of an offense that relies on the 3, this team is amazing. They never give up and are not intimidated by anyone. Next year should be fantastic. I would be very surprised if Michigan is not highly ranked next year.


Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 3:06 p.m.

One only has to look at the photo posted above to see how the calls went! btw there was no call on this play in the photo.. GO Blue..


Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

Where does the line form for nest year's season's tickets. These guys were a pleasure to watch. Thanks to each of them for a great time. !!!


Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

..nice run Wolverines!..remember next year when you play dukey you must make ALL free throws.. because they will inevitably benefit from a ton of b.s. calls- it is the ncaa way..even the above photo shows a dukey fouling Morgan on the arm, thus you must take advantage of ALL opportunities..loose balls, fastbreaks, and open 3s- alas, Coach Beilein might want to re-think the "sit the half w/ 2 fouls" a huge game sometimes your best players have to play with fouls have to roll the dice was 26-26 when Darius got the two phantom fouls ..dukey could not handle his distribution and pick and roll,. i would have left him sense having fouls to spare when the game is over.. ..still a good season.. (minus the indiana game).. ..get stronger, bigger, and Darius work on your J- The Wolverines will be a force next season.. thanks for all the victories and memories.. M bball is back! Go Blue! v


Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

I'm cautiously optimistic for next season because I remember what happened after we had this same record and our season ended in this same round in 2009--from a top 15 ranking to 15-17. Look, if Beilein doesn't mess this up, then...I'm just going to come out and say what a lot of other people here have been tiptoeing around saying--this Michigan group has Final Four potential next season. You think about having played three #1 seeds, one of them 3 times...all but one of those games against #1 seeds were close, all but two close at the end and those were against what I would think is the best team in the nation and the eventual NCAA champion. Wisconsin is in the Sweet 16, and we lost to them in as tight an ending as we lost to Duke. I mean, really, next season, Michigan should at least make the Sweet 16 and finish 3rd in the Big Ten. We should be able to win these close games that just need one or two last big plays next season. I guess I still don't trust Beilein's ability to get us back to the basketball elite. I told myself that if we beat Duke, I'd hush about him. I'm still going to quiet down a bit, but my faith in him is going to depend on what I see next season. I don't want to come here in 2012 and see excuses about "chemistry" and players with shaken confidence and all the garbage we sat through in 2010 after making the Tourney in '09.


Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 8:13 p.m.

I won't tiptoe around it, I agree 100%. This team has remarkable potential and I expect them to be highly ranked next year. Consider this: Manny Harris, what if he would have stayed? I wonder why you wrote, "if Beilein doesn't mess this up." I can't imagine it would be him, I am hoping all the players don't mess up, which is something college kids do. I too question the coaching but the team has done very well for such a young team. I don't like relying on the 3 and I think rebounding must improve significantly. The defense if much better than earlier in the year. They just need to take the shorter shots when open, not kick the ball out for a missed 3. That happens too often.

Glenn Galler

Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 4:34 a.m.

The guys on the floor were HEROES in my book. They played their hearts out and almost took it to overtime. We were not overmatched even though we had youth on our side and no seniors on the team. It was a VALIENT effort and I'm going to look forward to next year's team. GO BLUE!


Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 8:07 p.m.

Isn't it a pain that you have to wait so long?


Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 12:34 a.m.

Hold you heads high guys you did yourselves proud. It was a 7 on 5 game and yet you took it to the wire. Use this for fuel for the off season and come back next year with a bigger chip on your shoulder. 2 over sparty was great and 4 stright is going to be awsome baby!

Buster W.

Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 11:28 p.m.

I must admit I didn't have much hope when they lost to Minnesota here (outrebounded 38-13) and fell to 1-6 in the Big Ten. However, they fought back and played out the season strong. Played three #1 seeds to within four points, Kansas in OT. Next year, we don't lose anyone and gain Dumars so I would imagine expectations will be very high. This is one exciting to team to watch!!!

Buster W.

Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 1:23 a.m.

Yes, Trey Burke from Columbus. My guess is he'll have a very strong dislike for osu, too.


Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 12:39 a.m.

Dumars will most likely be a bench player. But they are getting two very talented freshmen next season - Brundage and Burke - who should contribute significantly.

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

No, there is no shame in how they comported themselves this season. A group of young kids who weren't the top recruits, weren't headed for the NBA after freshman year, weren't expected to win 20 games. But they didn't win a single game against an elite opponent. There's still a long, long way to go. That's for next year, and they might very well be a real force in the tournament. I don't think I would have said that back in January.


Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 8:06 p.m.

You are correct they did not win against the elite, no 1 opponents, but they sure played well and did not get blown out when they played top teams. For a bunch of young players that is quite remarkable.


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 10:56 p.m.

It's not just me thinking the refs are biased for Duke ... <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 8:04 p.m.

Do we know who this is? Is the poster a Michigan fan? Or a Duke hater? Or most preferable, a neutral party? While I though the officiating was questionable at times, I did not think that Duke got any advantages. Michigan got a lot of offensive charging calls where in the past they were called as blocking. I dismissed the differences in the nature of the refs, what conference they were from and how that conference plays. Not disagreeing with you, I just did not notice any bias with the refs during this game.


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

I remain so very proud of this basketball team. Valient effort boys - you did us proud!


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 10:25 p.m.

Good effort. Sports Illustrated commented that Duke would win because none of Michigan's starters could even crack the Duke line-up. The effort and execution was in place, but the free throws were double for Duke. I know a loss is still a loss, but with this young team, you can see potential.


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 10:04 p.m.

Michigan should be even better next year as long as everyone returns healthy. As MSU showed, health is the key.


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 10:02 p.m.

I just saw the replay of the last shot on ESPN - there were almost 4 seconds on the game clock when he took the shot... could have gone all the way in maybe even picked a foul. I think not having a timeout was also a factor there but it was a hell of a game!


Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 1:07 a.m.

Yeah, he could have gone to the hole, and he had Hardaway open on the wing to send one home, but he is the kind of player that takes a last shot if he has the ball in his hands. I'm sure we will be on the other side of some game changing shots in years to come.


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 11:58 p.m.

&quot;Maybe even picked up a foul&quot; -- yeah, right. Pitt-Butler game notwithstanding, fouls rarely get called in the end and they surely hadn't been called on Duke the previous times DMo took it to the rim.


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.


George Peng

Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 9:48 p.m.

I can't tell you how proud I am of these kids -Beilein had them playing as a team, selfless, not a prima donna in sight. But the secret's out, and next season they'll be on everybody's radar. Morris made the right decision - he took the high percentage shot, and unfortunately it just didn't go in. But still, part of me would've liked to have seen him dish back to Novak to stick a dagger in Duke's heart. But alas, not to be. More importantly, they never quit on the game or each other. And that's something to build on.


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 10:01 p.m.

Yeah I was hoping he would kick it out, too. But you know, if he makes it, we all rejoice that it went for some extra time. And if he kicks it out and they miss, we regret him not taking the two. It's hard to turn down that high percentage shot as you said. Can't wait for next season...


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 9:46 p.m.

A very proud day for Michigan. I wish the refs called a better game. Seriously, nobody from Duke was put in serious foul trouble, but M gets in serious trouble and even a bench warning in the first half.


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

Those kids looked great today! Next year Michigan will be a team to contend with in and out of the conference. It is so much fun to watch Michigan basketball again. I wish they would have won so the country could see what the future holds. Something tells me they already know.


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 9:26 p.m.

When your team is full of young players with mid-major offers playing against an experienced team of McDonald's All Americans, and the refs allow the other team to play &quot;Duke Defense&quot; while calling you for touch fouls at the other end, a two-point loss is a moral victory. What's sad is that Duke doesn't need help from the officials, but they have gotten away with mugging other teams on defense for years with no consequences. I would love to see Duke have to play under the same rules everybody else does just once. Anyway, it was still a great season for the young Wolverines. They demonstrated that they have, in the space of one year, suddenly surpassed MSU as the best team in the state. As soon as the facilities upgrades are finished, recruiting should reflect that status. If Tom Izzo leaves for the NBA while his market value hasn't fallen too much, it might happen even faster. Congrats on a great season, and it is no crime to lose a 5-on-7 game against the best McDonald's All Americans money can buy.


Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 12:34 a.m.

I agree the officiating left a LOT to be desired, but the entire tournament being on a neutral court is a farce. How many years does it come to North Carolina and amazingly Duke and NC are playing on that floor. I have no problem with them getting to a close place, but Pitt did not play in Pennsylvania. San Diego State is not on California. I think the NCAA needs to stop this bias. The stats bear themselves out as to how many times Duke and NC have played tourney games in their home state while some states NEVER have hosted a game.


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 11:20 p.m.

I'm a Michigan fan and I don't wish Izzo would leave. A strong UM-MSU rivalry is the best thing that can happen for both schools. It certainly has been good for Duke and UNC. The rivalry is getting stronger. By the way - do we need to remind you that Michigan beat MSU twice this year as well as getting a decisive win in the first round of the tournament ?


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 10:20 p.m.

so why do u suppose McDonald All Americans by pass the Mighty Blue?could it be Beeline,or maybe past record.


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 10:17 p.m.

in the tournament there are no Moral Victories.IT'S --------WIN-----and-------ADVANCE.


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 9:58 p.m.

The only time Duke plays on a semi-even field is when they play UNC at UNC. Ha ha... But honestly, this was an amazing year for Michigan. If they can recruit some talented size, everybody better watch out. Feel very proud to be a Wolverine fan right now.


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 9:29 p.m.

Here here!


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 9:26 p.m.

A valiant effort by a gritty, gutty team! There is no quit in these guys, they just keep attacking. When almost everyone wrote them off they never wavered in the belief in themselves. It is a great day to be a WOLVERINE! GO BLUE!!!


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 9:22 p.m.

Good game Michigan. If your weren't the youngest team in the tourney, you were one of the youngest, and you still pushed Duke to the edge. Really wish Morris would have put it off the backboard, but I know he has probably hit that running floater 1,000 times in his life. Build from this guys, learn from this, and next year we just might make a glorious run. Considering it was duke, I know I should be a lot more pissed off, which I am, but with all this young talent, including recruits coming in next year, I'm excited for next season. All we have to do is grow from this season, and this national level game, and we're bound to be better next year. -Go Blue!


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 9:21 p.m.

Sky's the limit, boys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

I'm EXTREMELY proud of my Wolverines. We may not have won the game, but we did not quit. We kept fighting. There's no shame in losing to a #1 seed that has two of the top 5 players in the country starting for them. Football team, please take note, the type of effort and heart exhibited by the basketball team is what we fans want to see on the football field. Whether you win or lose, you can know that you gave it your all--and THAT is what makes a MICHIGAN man or woman. GO BLUE!


Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 5:18 a.m.

I really, really don't think taking an unfair shot at the football team here is anything but ignorant. The players on the football team worked their tails off all season long. Being outschemed/outcoached/outexperienced/outmuscled doesn't take away from their effort on the field. Not once all football season did I get the impression they weren't fighting.

Stephen Landes

Mon, Mar 21, 2011 : 3:09 a.m.

Agree. And we played on what can be argued is a home court for Duke. I still don't understand how the West regional gets played in NC.


Sun, Mar 20, 2011 : 9:55 p.m.

100% agreed! Took the words right out of my mouth. These kids should feel proud of themselves. No shame whatsoever. Never say die attitude is what you need not only in sports, but in life. Success will find you eventually if you keep at it and try your best. A young team, but one that could/should remind us all of this lesson. They represented our city and our state wonderfully. Short of an upset win, you can't ask for anything more.