KANSAS CITY, Mo. â The ride is over. Itâs time for Michigan to return to the runway.
The seventh-seeded Wolverinesâ remarkable run through March ended in heartbreaking fashion Thursday night in the Midwest Region semifinal, with Derrick Walton Jr.âs missed 3-pointer in the closing seconds sealing a 69-68 loss to third-seeded Oregon at the Sprint Center.
The Ducks (32-5), who will appear in the Elite Eight for the second straight year, will play the winner of No. 1 Kansas/No. 4 Purdue on Saturday.
Michigan (27-12), which had won its previous seven games â including the Big Ten Tournament, after the teamâs plane to the conference tourney slid off the runway â was led by Walton, who had 20 points, eight assists and five rebounds in the final game of his career.
The first half was close â featuring eight lead changes and eight ties, with neither team leading by more than five â but the play was far different from what two of the best offenses in the country had showcased all season. Both teams struggled shooting, and committed uncharacteristic turnovers, constantly raising the question how either team reached the Sweet 16.
Michiganâs second-round star, Moritz Wagner, flopped in his first game with name recognition, opening 1-of-7 from the field.
Though Pac-12 Player of the Year Dillon Brooks was kept quiet early, Oregonâs surging sophomore Tyler Dorsey took the reins of the offense again, scoring 12 first-half points to give the Ducks a 35-33 lead at the break.
The Ducks took their biggest lead, 50-44, after a Brooks 3-pointer with 13:15 remaining, but the Wolverines responded with a 7-0 run. Michigan relied on 3-pointers once more â accounting for more than half of the Wolverinesâ shots â but its soft touch didnât resurface until back-to-back 3-pointers by D.J. Wilson and Walton, which put the Wolverines up, 61-60, and another by Zak Irvin to re-take the lead again.
Michigan led by three with less than two minutes remaining, but Dorsey (20 points) wrestled back the lead on a drive one minute later.