Top 25 basketball: Michigan reaches NIT Tipoff title game
New York • Trey Burke scored 17 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. had 16 points and No. 4 Michigan shut down Pittsburgh defensively in the second half to reach the championship of the NIT Season Tipoff with a 67-62 win Wednesday night.
Pittsburgh's Tray Woodall made a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left to make it a one-possession game, and Pittsburgh (4-1) pressed after a timeout. But Michigan (4-0) made eight straight free throws to close it out.
James Robinson made a layup and was fouled with 3.5 seconds left, but missed the free throw and Michigan had the arrow for a jump ball that followed on the rebound. Pittsburgh fouled on the inbounds and Burke made the free throws while Michigan's fans chanted "Beat Ohio!" a reference to Saturday's football game against archrival Ohio State.
Before that game, the basketball Wolverines will play Kansas State for the title on Friday afternoon..
Lamar Patterson led the Panthers with 14 points.
It was a disappointing finish for a well-balanced Pittsburgh team that was expected to have an outside shot at contending in the strong and deep Big East conference and looked set to score a big nonconference win early.
The Panthers led by eight in the first half and six in the second, but Michigan began to use its 1-3-1 defense to slow them down and limit their field goals until they got down to making free throws late.
Before closing with a bunch of layups that Michigan seemed willing to concede due to the game situation, the Panthers shot 5 of 20 from the floor, mostly against the zone.
Wednesday's Top 25 scores
• No. 4 Michigan 67, Pittsburgh 62
• No. 6 Syracuse 73, Princeton 53
• No. 8 Kentucky 81, Morehead State 70
• No. 9 North Carolina 112, Chaminade 70
• No. 25 San Diego St. vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, late