Jordan Poole scored a game-high 19 points Saturday, and second-seeded Michigan pulled away with an 11-0 run to start the second half as it bagged a 64-49 win over 10th-seeded Florida in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa.
Isaiah Livers came off the bench to add 10 for the Wolverines (30-6), who will face No. 3 Texas Tech or No. 6 Buffalo in the West Region semifinals on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif. Michigan, which owned the boards 42-29, overcame 42.1 percent shooting from the field.
Jalen Hudson was the only double-figure scorer for the Gators (20-16) with 11 points, but he made just 4 of 15 shots from the floor and was 3 of 10 from the 3-point line. Florida fired away to no avail, hitting only 19 of 55 field-goal tries (34.5 percent) and 9 of 26 from 3-point range.
Point guard Zavier Simpson barely missed a triple-double for the Wolverines, finishing with nine points, nine rebounds and nine assists. His pass to Ignas Brazdeikis teed up a 3-pointer 11 seconds into the second half that kicked off the game-deciding spurt.
Jon Teske checked in with a layup, and then Poole put his stamp on the run. He converted a 3-point play and then drilled one of his four 3-pointers to make it 43-28 with 17:50 left in the game.
The Gators were able to score the next nine points, pulling within 43-37 on Keyontae Johnson’s dunk at the 14:21 mark. But Michigan’s defense clamped down at that point, allowing only 12 points for the game’s remainder.
Poole’s 3-point shot with 2:01 remaining applied the knockout punch, giving the Wolverines a 60-44 advantage.
Florida led briefly on two occasions in the first few minutes before Michigan ripped off 11 straight points. Poole had a big hand in that run, converting a rare 4-point play and then draining a 3-pointer to make it 15-6 just under six minutes into the game.
The Gators fought back to grab their last lead at 23-21 on a layup by Kevarrius Hayes with 6:49 left in the half. But the Wolverines regained the advantage less than two minutes later and went to the break up 32-28.
—Field Level Media