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Michigan basketball falls to Rutgers in Big Ten tournament, ending ...

Michigan basketball opened the second half 1-for-17 from the floor and fell in the second round of the Big Ten tournament, 62-50, to Rutgers.

CHICAGO — Michigan basketball had made only one field goal nearly 10 minutes into the second half but still felt like it was starting to take the momentum back.

A six-point deficit had been cut to one, when Rutgers' Derek Simpson stepped to the free-throw line.

He made the first and missed the second, but the ball caromed off the back iron directly back to him. He dribbled once and laid it ball in as Rutgers' bench exploded while the Wolverines looked around at one another.

It started a 12-0 run for the Scarlett Knights as U-M had its worst shooting half of the season.

The Wolverines opened the second half shooting 1-for-17 (and finished the period 4-for-21) and had a stretch of more than 14 minutes without a field goal as they lost to Rutgers, 62-50, in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.

U-M (17-15) was projected on the outside of the NCAA tournament bubble before the game and now seems a virtual certainty to miss the Big Dance for the first time since 2015. Michigan has made it to each of the past five Sweet 16s.

Michigan was 16-1 in 17 prior meetings with Rutgers and was 15-1 in its past 16 Big Ten tournament openers.

Hunter Dickinson led the way with 24 points and seven rebounds while Kobe Bufkin added nine points, seven rebounds and five assists. Cam Spencer led Rutgers with 18 points and Simpson had 13 as Rutgers advances to play No. 1-seed Purdue on Friday afternoon.

Second-half meltdown

The second half could not possibly have gone worse for Michigan, which carried a 28-25 lead into halftime.

It started with a shot clock violation before Howard, Bufkin and Dickinson missed four shots.

The Scarlett Knights put together a quick 9-1 run to force a timeout by Juwan Howard.

After Bufkin made a pair of free throws, Aundre Hyatt hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key for Rutgers' fifth consecutive bucket. Dickinson buried a 3-pointer from the corner to get within 37-34, before he split a pair of free throws, Dug McDaniel made two and Tarris Reed Jr. made one to cut the deficit to 40-39 with 11:06 to play.

That's when Simpson scored the quick three points to put Rutgers up, 43-39, when the U-M misses started to pile up.

Dickinson missed three, Howard missed three, McDaniel missed a pair, Bufkin missed a pair, and Reed and Terrance Williams II each missed one shot before Dickinson hit a 3-pointer to end a 14:02 stretch without a field goal.

It started well, then faded fast

Dickinson established himself from the game's opening possession, opening with a right-handed hook before connecting on a scooping layup two possessions later to make it 4-0.

He grabbed two rebounds and blocked a shot in the game's first two minutes as well before Jett Howard added a long ball and Bufkin made a reverse layup on a pass from Dickinson to go up 9-2 early.

But as its done so many times this season, the Wolverines offense stalled. Michigan made just 2 of 11 shots over the next seven minutes and Rutgers slowly chipped away at the deficit, cutting it to 13-11 on a Omoruyi layup with 9:49 to play in the half.

Dickinson had the answer for Michigan. The junior hit a floater plus the foul — part of his team-high 13 points in the half — for the three-point play before a Williams baseline jumper put U-M up 18-11 as the Wolverines shot 48% (12-for-25) in the opening period against the league's top defense.

All the while, Rutgers struggled from the field. The Scarlett Knights missed their first seven attempts and then had a 1-for-10 stretch later in the half to open the game 4-for-23 through nearly 14 minutes.

But Michigan allowed the Scarlett Knights to get a number of extra possessions; they grabbed eight offensive rebounds which led to eight second-chance points and seven turnovers which led to another 10 points in the first half. The Scarlett Knights shot a dismal 29% from the floor (10-for-34) but attempted nine more shots than U-M which kept them in the game.

Rutgers did get hot for a short stretch late in the period and made six of eight shots — the last of which came when Antwone Woolfolk stole an attempted Bufkin entry pass and took it coast-to-coast for a layup to cap a 14-5 run — and give the Scarlett Knights a 25-23 lead with 1:21 to play,

Again, Dickinson responded, burying a a hook shot to tie the game before Joey Baker scored the bench's second bucket; a 3-pointer with one second in the half.

Contact Tony Garcia at Follow him on Twitter at @realtonygarcia.

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