The Michigan Wolverines are back in the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive year after pulling away for a 64-49 win over the Florida Gators in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday in Des Moines, IA.
Michigan sophomore guard Jordan Poole scored 19 points and took charge of the game in the final seven minutes to help the Wolverines advance.
Big Blue is the Number 2 seed in the West Region, the 2018 national runner-up and has reached the Sweet 16 five times in the last seven years. As for the 10th-seeded Gators, they just shot just 29 percent in the second half, 34.5 percent for the game and were held to their lowest point total of the season.
Zavier Simpson had nine points for Michigan, nine rebounds and nine assists, while Jon Teske had eight points to go with 10 rebounds for the Wolverines.
After a large run by Michigan to open up the second half, the Gators scored nine straight points to close the gap before Poole was fouled shooting a 3 and made all three free throws. The Michigan lead was back to double digits when Isaiah Livers took a bounce pass from Ignas Brazdeikis, drove on Kevarrius Hayes, got fouled and made the free throw with 7 1/2 minutes left.
Jalen Hudson had 11 points for the Gators, who kept it close in the first half by making 6 of 12 3-pointers. However the Gators missed eight of their first nine from distance in the second half and eventually tired against the bigger Wolverines.
The wraps up a 20-16 season for the Gators who played one of the toughest schedules in the country and turned it up at the end of the season after finishing eighth in the Southeastern Conference. Florida upset LSU to make the NCAA Tournament for a third year in a row under coach Mike White. The Gators beat Nevada in the first round but met their match against a Michigan team that mixes a lockdown defense with an offense with multiple threats.
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