WICHITA, Kan. (WOOD) — The Michigan Wolverines struggled from the field all night, but when they needed a shot, they found one.
A 30-footer from freshman Jordan Poole, ripping through the net as time expired, lifting the Wolverines to a 64-63 win over sixth-seeded Houston.
Afterward, the locker room was buzzing. The team still processing the miracle shot that stamped their ticket back to the Sweet 16.
“Very sweet, very happy,” said junior guard Charles Matthews, before pausing and apologizing to the media for not having a better response. “I’m speechless. I really don’t know what to say right now. So, we won, man, I’m just going to leave it at that.”
Poole’s teammates weren’t surprised the freshman reserve would hit the clutch shot. Multiple players said they practiced that play often throughout the season, and they’ve seen him hit it before.
“Once I caught the ball and turned around, I saw three defenders on me, and I heard Jordan call out my nickname ‘Hum,’ and I looked up,” senior Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman said after the game. “This is definitely the guy I gotta pass it to. He’s the guy that always makes the shots in practice from half-court, so I knew it was going in.”
As for Poole himself, he says he’s been waiting for his moment.
“I was thirsty. Definitely thirsty,” Poole said. “I’ve been hitting shots like that in practice all year and I just feel like I’ve always wanted to be in a situation like that late in a game.”
The Wolverines have a couple of days to celebrate their big win before preparing for the next round in the NCAA tournament. They will face the winner of the 2 versus 7 matchup between North Carolina and Texas A&M. That game tips off at 5:15 p.m. tonight. That Sweet 16 match will be played Thursday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.