With 5:38 left in the first half, Pitt's Durand Johnson hit a 3-pointer to give the Panthers a 24-21 lead over Michigan, and the Wolverines couldn't tie the game or take the lead. They trailed by four at half. The game remained close in the 2nd, but Pitt refused to give up the lead. A Trey Zeigler free throw game them a 5-point lead at the under-12 media timeout.
And then Michigan took control of the game with a 9-0 run. They took the lead, and this time Pitt was the team which couldn't quite ever catch up.
So how did they do it?
Trailing by five, Michigan began their run with classic John Beilein action. There's a reason this guy has won 646 games as a coach. From the right elbow Michigan runs a three-man game with Trey Burke, Glenn Robinson and Mitch McGary (arrows). They run two simple screen and dives to get the defenders switched.
The relatively immobile Dante Taylor (circled) ends up scrambling to catch up to Glenn Robinson, who buries a three.
On the other end of the floor Pitt runs a nice play of their own. They baseline-cross and get an experienced Matt Vogrich (circled) caught up on a screen.
But Pitt's J.J. Moore misses the easy jumper and Michigan controls the board. Runs don't always happen because one team dominates the other. Sometimes teams just miss shots after running a nice play to get it. That's the case here. The video:
On the other end the Wolverines run their (sometimes) grinding offense without luck for 0:20 seconds. But no worries, they have talent and a good system. Trey Burke (left) lets his teammates set up a line-stack to create confusion on the screens.
Vogrich screens down for Mitch McGary, who gives Burke the screen he needs to get the basket. Unfortunately Burke misses the bunny. The video:
On the other end Michigan goes back to their patented 1-3-1 zone. Only Tim Hardaway (arrow) gets caught playing lazy defense – hands down, no awareness of the cutter – which gives Pitt another nice look to J.J. Moore.
But again, Moore misses the easy jumper and Michigan controls. The video:
Back on offense the team turns to Glenn Robinson, who is such an incredible addition to this offense. They run this all the time for Burke and Hardaway, and now they have a third option. The Pitt defender (circled) is giving Robinson the right side if he wants to drive right into the help defense (arrows).
But Robinson is too good. The help waves at him as he passes, and puts the rest of the defense is a bad spot. The video:
The next play is just good defense by a senior (circled). Pitt, who has been struggling to convert in sets, tries to push the ball for points. But freshman Durand Johnson (receiving ball) folds in the face of defense and boots it out of bounds.
Michigan goes back to the exact same play, only this time with Tim Hardaway (circled). But Hardaway begins his drive before Mitch McGary or Glenn Robinson (arrows) can clear.
But Hardaway pulls off a ridiculous cross-over to get to the rim. Most teams don't have this level of talent.
On the other end, still in their 1-3-1 zone, Michigan plays elite defense. Aside from one questionable closeout where Trey Burke jumps at a shooter, the defense is exactly how it's supposed to look. It finally breaks down as the shot clock is about to expire, but Pitt can't convert.
With the ball, Tim Hardaway again shows his offensive craftiness. Lamar Patterson (arrow) commits the cardinal sin of reaching when the ball-handler is in position to rip. Which Hardaway does, and earns a trip to the line.
Now Michigan has the lead for the first time since the 1st half. And Tray Woodall (circled), an experience senior, pulls a complete wtf moment and dribbles into a trap. Turnover.
But Michigan can't make them pay, as Trey Burke (circled) returns the favor, launching a 27' 3-point attempt when there's still :06 seconds left on the clock (arrow).
Pitt, once again, gets exactly the look they want, only they can't convert. And in transition Glenn Robinson goes to the pump fake and gives Michigan control of this game.