MILWAUKEE — Surviving and advancing, as is the March adage in college hoops, is a whole lot easier when a team has senior leadership.
And fortunately for the Michigan Wolverines, they had just that in guard Nik Stauskas.
Stauskas made four 3-pointers and finished with 17 points Saturday as No. 2 Michigan knocked off the seventh-seeded Texas Longhorns 79-65 in a third round Midwest Regional game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
“We were hitting shots and we were feeling good,” Stauskas said. “I just tried to be aggressive and whether that is me getting shots at the basket or shots from the outside, that is great. But a lot of times it leads to guys getting open shots at the rim or from (beyond the arc).
That aggressiveness led to a career-high eight assists, getting assists on 16 of 24 shots and turning the ball over only four times while going 14-for-28 on 3-point attempts.
“I don’t think we had a turnover out of the back court the entire game,” Michigan coach John Beilein said.
Michigan came out firing, making 15 of 28 shots in the first half, but cooled off considerably and finished at only 44 percent for the game.
Forward Jordan Morgan made seven of eight free throws to finish with 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Guard Caris LeVert and forward Glenn Robinson III each added 14 points for Michigan, which moved onto the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season.
The Longhorns trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half and came out of the break slowly, missing five of their first seven shots but finally found a way back midway through the second.
“We missed a lot of shots early,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “We missed a lot of close-up shots and didn’t rebound as well in the first half.
With shots not falling, offensive rebounds were Texas’ biggest weapons, as the Longhorns conveyed 16 offensive boards into 15 points to make it a nine-point game with 9:56 to play.
Texas finished with 19 points on 21 offensive rebounds for the game and held a 41-30 advantage on the boards.
But the Wolverines had just too much of a cushion. Every time Texas got within single digits, Michigan answered and the Longhorns could not get closer than six points.
“We knew we were going to play some zone because we had to do something to change it,” Barnes said. “We were effective enough in the second half but offensively, we just weren’t able to finish some of those plays that would have put a little more pressure on them.”
Guard Isiah Taylor finished with 22 points and guard Martez Walker added 14 for the Longhorns, who shot 37 percent from the field, missing 7 of 11 3-point shots.
Guard Caris LeVert hit four of his first six shots from the field and knocked down two 3-pointers as Michigan set the pace early, scoring 10 points on the fast break to take a 43-30 lead into halftime.
NOTES: Texas has not advanced to the Sweet 16 since 2008, when the second-seeded Longhorns defeated Austin Peay, Miami and Stanford before losing to Memphis in the South Regional Final. … Longhorns G Martez Walker had scored in double figures in three of his previous four games and was averaging 11.3 points per game during that stretch. He scored 14 against Michigan. … Michigan and Texas faced off in Milwaukee during the 1996 NCAA Tournament. The seventh-seeded Wolverines fell to No. 10 Texas, 80-76, in a game that was later vacated because of NCAA sanctions. … Michigan F Glenn Robinson III’s father, Glenn Robinson, spent 10 years playing in the Bradley Center with the Milwaukee Bucks.
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