By GEOFF MEHL, Staff Reporter
The No. 14 Michigan Wolverines fell in last second fashion to the Charlotte 49ers, 63-61, in the Puerto Rico Tip-off championship on Sunday.
With just two seconds left, Charlotte’s Terrence Williams missed his first attempt at a layup but would not be denied. He pulled down the rebound for a put back bucket to clinch the upset for Charlotte with just 0.4 seconds left.
Sophomore guard Caris LeVert got into foul trouble early for the Wolverines and his presence was sorely missed. Michigan’s offense could not get into a rhythm and sloppy play took over.
Charlotte and Michigan combined for 37 total fouls in the games which led to stop and go action. Michigan was 19 of 61 from the floor and shot 31 percent for the game. The 21 percent from behind the three point line was what really held the Wolverines back.
Though the team was putting up inconsistent numbers, the one constant for the Wolverines was sophomore guard Nik Stauskas. He kept his team in the game with 20 points, five rebounds and three steals during a team-high 38 minutes.
Sophomore center Mitch McGary was held in check for Michigan, scoring just six points and accruing nine rebounds. Charlottes’ Willie Clayton battled McGary all night, pulling in 15 rebounds of his own.
Michigan forward Glenn Robinson III left the game early after just nine minutes and four points. He sustained a back injury after taking a hard foul in the first half.
After the game, Michigan coach John Beilein did not seem upset with his team but viewed the game as a positive in the early season.
“Another March game played in November,” Beilein said. “We’re embracing this and saying, ‘What a great opportunity to grow.’ We had adversity tonight like we hadn’t had, and we just kept plugging away.”
Michigan has now fallen to No. 22 in the rankings and will trek on in the non-conference schedule. The Wolverines head home to Crisler Arena to take on Coppin State on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. on the Big Ten Network. Then on Tuesday December 3, they head to Duke to take on the No. 6 ranked Blue Devils at 9 p.m. on ESPN.