Mar. 20, 1997
Irish Drop Heartbreaker in NIT Quarterfinals
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Brandun Hughes sank a jumper from the free-throw line with 7.6seconds left to lift Michigan to a 67-66 victory over Notre Damein the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament.
Robert Traylor had 26 points and 13 rebounds and Maurice Tayloradded 16 points for Michigan (22-11), which improved to 13-4all-time in the NIT. The Wolverines will meet Arkansas in thesemifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York on Tuesday.
“It was fun out there tonight,” Michigan coach Steve Fishersaid. “I am very proud of our team. It was tough all nightinside both teams. Notre Dame deserves a lot of credit theyplayed very tough and never gave up. We have been capable allseason of being a good team. We have seen our share ofdifficulties this year, but we have a overcome them. We are nowheaded to New York to show people that we are a good team.”
“That’s the shot we wanted him (Hughes) to take,” Notre Dameforward Pat Garrity said. “We forced him into a double clutchfrom the foul line, and he hit the shot. He just made a greatplay.”
Garrity scored 23 points and Admore White added 14 for NotreDame (16-14), which fell to 6-12 all-time against Michigan. TheFighting Irish, playing their third straight home game, had achance to win the game but White missed a tough reverse layup intraffic at the buzzer.
“I saw him going baseline, I put my head up and got a piece ofit,” said Traylor about White’s shot. “It was good defense bythe guards to force White to the baseline. I said a couple ofdays ago that we’re here to win this tournament, and tonight wejust proved we’re not going to back down to anybody.”
“I told them that they had a great year,” said Notre Dame coachJohn MacLeod about his speech to his team. “They came fromnowhere, they had great character and heart and accomplished agreat deal more than anyone thought they possibly could, andthank goodness they didn’t listen to what the people said. Itreally is a great group.”
Michigan never trailed until Garrity converted a three-pointplay to give the Fighting Irish a 66-63 lead with 1:37remaining. Taylor’s dunk pulled Michigan within 66-65 with 1:20left.
“After halftime, Coach Fisher told me to contain Garrity,”Taylor said. “Pat’s a good player. We played together lastsummer, and I know what he’s capable of doing. So I wasn’tsurprised to see him make tough shots like he did, because greatplayers make those kind of shots.”
The Wolverines scored the game’s first nine points and took a14-2 lead on Travis Conlan’s free throw with 12:04 left. MaceoBaston, who had six points and five rebounds, made a short hookshot to give Michigan its biggest lead 21-6 with 8:18 left inthe first.
Matt Gotsch’s 16-footer capped a 12-0 run and pulled Notre Damewithin 24-23 with 4:44 remaining in the first half. Taylor andTraylor answered with consecutive jumpers to give Michigan a28-23 advantage with 3:55 left.
Michigan shot just 36 percent (12-for-33) from the field in thefirst half but held a 32-28 lead.
Notre Dame Coach John MacLeod:
(On the game): “This was what it was all about. To be able to be involved in a game of this magnitude at this stage of the season, on March the 20th, battling the University of Michigan . . . they have a tremendous team, we have a tremendous team. They got up 21 to 5 and we battled all the way back to take the lead. I think that is indicative of the heart and character of this basketball team.”
(On what he told the players after the game): “I told them that they had a great year. They came from nowhere, they had great character and heart and accomplished a great deal more than anyone thought they possibly could . . . and thank goodness they didn’t listen to what the people said. It really is a great group.”
(On the crowd): “The fans have been terrific. They have been with us from the beginning . . . this was the best crowd I have seen at Notre Dame since I’ve been here. This group of fans has come to respect and appreciate what this group of college kids has accomplished.”
Senior Guard Admore White:
“On the last play, we were trying to get the ball to one of our shooters, Pat (Garrity) or Pete (Miller). They were both cut off, and I had the chance to go to the hole. The layup just came up short.”
(On his missed free throw): “I went up to the line thinking I’d make it. I just shit it long and it hit the back of the rim. I just had to shake it off. There’s nothing I can do about it now.”
Junior Forward Pat Garrity:
“On the last posession, we were supposed to get the ball into Ardmore. They were pressuring us and it ended up being a broken play. At the end of the game, it’s hard to run a play the way it’s supposed to be run since the other team’s playing such tight defense, but Ad did a great job.”
(On Brandun Hughes’ winning shot): “That’s the shot we wanted him to take. We forced him into a double clutch from the foul line, and he hit the shot. He just made a great play.”
(On the impact of seniors White, Matt Gotsch, Pete Miller and Marcus Young): “It’s impossible to measure what the four seniors bring to this team. You can’t tell anything just by looking at their numbers; they do so much more than that. They all bring a lot of leadership and confidence to this team. It will be hard next year without those four guys.”
Michigan Coach Steve Fisher:
(On the game): “It was fun out there tonight. I am very proud of our team. It was tough all night inside for both teams. Notre Dame deserves a lot of credit. They played very tough and never gave up.”
(On missed free throws): “Throughout this whole year we have been on the losing end because of free throws. Tonight we finally caught a break with free throws. We have stuck together all season working together to be a better team.”
(On Robert Traylor): We were not sure if he was going to be able to play tonight. He played magnificent tonight. It was nice to see him play so weel.”
(On the Michigan team): “We have been capable all season of being a good team. We have seen our share of difficulties this year, but we have overcome them. We are now headed to New York to show people that we are a good team.”
Michigan’s Robert Traylor:
(On blocking Admore White’s shot): “I saw him going baseline, I put my head up and got a piece of it. It was good defense by the guards to force White to the baseline.”
(On being in the NIT): “I said a couple of days ago that we’re here to win this tournament, and tonight just proved that we’re not going to back down to anybody.”
Michigan’s Brandun Hughes:
(On his game winning shot): “The shot wasn’t designed for me, we tried to pound it down low to Robert because he had the hot hand. I saw an opening near the free throw line and I took it. Coach Fisher told me if no one was open, try to create a shot for myself and fortunately I did.”
(On guarding Garrity): “After half-time Coach Fisher told me to contain Garrity. Pat’s a good player, we played together last summer, and I know what he’s capable of doing. So I wasn’t surprised to see him make tough shots like he did, because great players make those kind of shots.”
MICHIGAN (67) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tpM Taylor 38 8-12 0-0 4-6 0 1 16Baston 16 3-6 0-0 1-5 1 5 6Traylor 38 12-18 2-6 6-13 0 3 26Bullock 36 3-8 3-4 0-3 1 4 12Conlan 37 0-4 1-2 0-3 9 2 1Hughes 26 2-9 0-0 0-1 2 2 5Ward 3 0-2 1-2 0-0 0 1 1Streets 4 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 1 0Vignier 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0_______________________________________________TOTALS 200 28-59 7-14 11-32 13 19 67_______________________________________________Percentages: FG-.475, FT-.500. 3-Point Goals:4-13, .308 (Bullock 3-6, Conlan 0-2, Hughes 1-4,Ward 0-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 1(Baston). Turnovers: 14 (Traylor 4, Hughes 3,Baston 2, Bullock 2, Conlan 2, M Taylor). Steals:5 (Bullock 2, Conlan, M Taylor, Traylor).NOTRE DAME (66) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tpGarrity 40 8-16 7-9 0-8 3 2 23Manner 24 1-2 0-2 0-1 0 3 2Hickey 14 1-3 1-1 1-2 0 2 3White 40 5-10 3-5 1-6 13 2 14Miller 32 5-7 0-0 0-0 1 4 13Wyche 8 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0Lalazarian 9 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 3 2Friel 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0Dillon 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0Gotsch 20 4-5 0-1 0-6 0 1 8Young 11 0-0 1-2 1-2 1 1 1_______________________________________________TOTALS 200 25-49 12-20 3-25 18 18 66_______________________________________________Percentages: FG-.510, FT-.600. 3-Point Goals:4-15, .267 (Garrity 0-3, White 1-5, Miller 3-5,Wyche 0-1, Friel 0-1). Team rebounds: 2. Blockedshots: 5 (Gotsch 3, Hickey 2). Turnovers: 13(Garrity 6, Hickey 2, White 2, Lalazarian,Manner, Miller). Steals: 5 (White 2, Garrity,Hickey, Young).__________________________________Michigan 32 35 - 67Notre Dame 28 38 - 66__________________________________Technical fouls: None. A: 7,483. Officials:James Copenhaver, Ron Berkholtz, Jim Jenkins.