ANN ARBOR, Mich. — All season long, the Wolverines haven’t been able to finish strong and get over the hump in tight games against marquee opponents.
It happened against Virginia, against Kentucky, against North Carolina and against Purdue. That problematic pattern continued on Saturday.
Michigan fell apart down the stretch, missed its final seven shots and went scoreless over the final 5:12 as it saw its three-game winning streak come to an end with a crushing 62-61 loss to No. 18 Indiana at Crisler Center.
Junior center Hunter Dickinson had 16 points and sophomore guard Kobe Bufkin added 14 points for Michigan (14-11, 8-6 Big Ten), which led by 11 at one point and for much of the contest. Freshman wing Jett Howard finished with 12 points and missed an off-balance 3-pointer on the final play as time expired.
Trayce Jackson-Davis had 28 points and 11 rebounds and Jalen Hood-Schifino scored 21 for Indiana (18-7, 9-5), which has won eight of nine and was without starting forward Race Thompson.
After Hood-Schifino and Jackson-Davis cut an 11-point deficit to four by halftime, the two continued to give Michigan problems. Following a turnover, Hood-Schifino canned a 3-pointer. After another turnover, Jackson-Davis scored in the paint to make it a one-point game.
Jackson-Davis followed that up by blocking a shot on one end then finishing through contact on the other end to give Indiana its first lead since early in the first half, 40-39, with 16:34 left in the second half.
The Hoosiers’ lead was short-lived as the Wolverines answered with a 10-2 burst. Dickinson put Michigan back on top with a three-point play. Howard knocked down a 3-pointer and blocked a 3-point attempt on the ensuing possession. Grad transfer wing Joey Baker capped the spurt with a driving layup to make it 49-42 with 13:19 to play.
Indiana pulled back within three, but Michigan took advantage of back-to-back turnovers by Hood-Schifino to create some distance. After a traveling violation, freshman center Tarris Reed Jr. finished at the rim on a pick-and-roll feed from freshman guard Dug McDaniel. Then after an offensive foul, Dickinson scored inside to make it 53-46.
Indiana punched back with eight unanswered points and made Michigan pay for a pair of miscues. A turnover by McDaniel led to two free throws for Jackson-Davis. A missed free throw on the front end of a one-and-one led to a drive and finish by Hood-Schifino. Jackson-Davis capped the run with an alley-oop finish to put the Hoosiers up, 54-53, with 9:05 to play.
But once again, Michigan quickly regained the lead. Reed converted a three-point play, blocked a shot by Jackson-Davis down low and split two free throws to make it 57-54.
Indiana cut the deficit to one three more times. The first two times, Dickinson mustered a response with two free throws and a short hook. The third time, Dickinson missed a shot inside and the Hoosiers used two free throws from Hood-Schifino to grab a 62-61 edge with 2:58 remaining.
That set the stage for a finish in which Michigan squandered one opportunity after another. Indiana turned the ball over on back-to-back possessions. Michigan couldn’t take advantage as McDaniel had a shot at the rim blocked by Jackson-Davis and a pass into the post was picked off.
After getting a stop, Howard misfired on a deep off-balance jumper. Then after Jackson-Davis missed the front end of a one-and-one, Michigan had one last chance to win it with eight seconds left. But on the final possession, Howard put up a desperation 3-pointer that missed everything.
The Wolverines showed they were up to the task from the tip. Bufkin drained a corner 3-pointer and stripped the ball from Hood-Schifino near midcourt. Junior forward Terrance Williams II snagged a defensive rebound and went coast to coast for a layup.
Dickinson blocked back-to-back shots by Jackson-Davis at the rim and capped an 8-0 burst with an open 3-pointer to give Michigan a 13-6 lead less than five minutes into the game.
Jackson-Davis, the Big Ten’s preseason player of the year, carried the Hoosiers and was doing it all during the early stages. He scored nine of their first 13 points, drew an early foul on Dickinson and converted a three-point play that cut Michigan’s lead to two.
Dickinson countered and threw down a dunk that helped Michigan pull ahead, 21-13, before the Wolverines had to weather a rough patch. Howard exited the game for a four-minute stretch and had his left knee examined by a trainer on the bench, while Dickinson picked up his second foul at the 12:08 mark.
Both eventually returned and Michigan widened the margin. When Howard checked back in, he immediately scored on back-to-back possessions on a drive and a pull-up jumper from the free-throw line. An Indiana turnover led to a Bufkin layup and a 32-21 lead with 6:27 left in the half.
The Wolverines had a poor stretch to close the half and the Hoosiers climbed back into it behind Hood-Schifino and Jackson-Davis. Hood-Schifino navigated Michigan’s ball-screen coverages and scored four straight baskets for Indiana before finding Jackson-Davis out of a pick-and-roll for a two-handed jam that cut the deficit to 37-33 at the break.