Wolverines trying to shake off loss to Indiana
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Jordan Morgan watched his last-second putback roll off the rim, and for a little while, everything was a blur.
He and his Michigan teammates left the court, a point short of a Big Ten championship -- and the 6-foot-8 Morgan tried to forget that frantic finish as quickly as possible.
"I went home and watched `Space Jam," Morgan said. "Laughter is the best healer."
Still smarting from their 72-71 loss to Indiana on Sunday, the sixth-ranked Wolverines now need to regroup. A win would have given Michigan a share of the conference title. Instead, the Wolverines won't even have a first-round bye in the Big Ten tournament. They'll start Thursday against Penn State.
The Nittany Lions upset Michigan a couple weeks ago. In fact, to reach the Big Ten title game, the Wolverines may need to beat Penn State, Wisconsin and Indiana, teams that have handed Michigan four of its six defeats this season.
"Wherever we go in this tournament, we're just going to make the best of it," coach John Beilein said. "We've got a lot of things still to address. We're addressing them and doing them as fast as we can."
Michigan led Indiana by five before a few missed free throws allowed the Hoosiers to rally.
Trey Burke, the conference player of the year, had a chance to win it for the Wolverines, but his driving attempt missed and Morgan's follow-up did, too.
"I'm standing up under the basket looking at Jordan as he tips it," freshman Glenn Robinson III said. "We do this drill almost every day, and it's called `three taps and in' -- you tap it three times off the glass and you've got to make a basket. Sometimes all the players are just like, `Why are we doing this? Why are we doing this drill?' I don't think anybody ever knew that that was going to come down to that type of shot.
"It kind of rolled off the rim. I thought it was good the whole way. It just kind of took the wrong spin."
It was an agonizing way to lose, but the Wolverines didn't help themselves by letting Indiana come up with 24 offensive rebounds.
Now the Wolverines will try to avenge their most surprising loss of the season. They squandered a 15-point second-half lead in that game and were somewhat fortunate just to get back in the title race.
If Michigan beats Penn State, the Wolverines will take on Wisconsin. Michigan lost to the Badgers last month after Wisconsin's Ben Brust made a buzzer-beater from near midcourt to send the game into overtime.
The Big Ten tournament is sandwiched between the league's thrilling regular-season race and the drama still to come in the NCAA tournament. But that doesn't mean it will be totally overshadowed, and for Michigan, every game is a chance to improve.
"It's that time of the year," Beilein said. "If you don't play well in a game, your season will be over or your tournament will be over. That's how simple it is."
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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