MILWAUKEE — Eliminated from the NCAA tournament, the Wofford Terriers nevertheless looked and sounded like a team that had a rewarding night.
Some players laughed and smiled after a 57-40 loss to second-seeded Michigan on Thursday night. They spoke of a bright future in the Southern Conference.
Karl Cochran scored 17 points, but 15th-seeded Wofford fell short of its goal to play the perfect game needed to take down the Wolverines.
Overmatched by Michigan’s athleticism and mired by 1-of-19 shooting from 3-point territory, the heavy underdogs still appreciated their two-plus hours in the spotlight.
“I’m beaming with pride with these guys sitting to my left and their accomplishments,” coach Mike Young said. “So, we’ll walk out of here with our head high.”
Glenn Robinson III scored 14 points, while Jordan Morgan had 10 points and 10 rebounds as Michigan started its quest for a second straight trip to the Final Four.
The Wolverines still had nervous moments after missing 15 of their first 18 shots in the second half.
Cochran’s 3-pointer with 9:25 left – Wofford’s only 3 of the game – whittled an 18-point deficit to 40-33.
But the Wolverines regrouped, and Caris LeVert’s 3 with 4:17 left gave them a 15-point lead to deflate Wofford’s dreams of an upset.
Nik Stauskas had 15 points for the Wolverines, while Robinson hit big shots in the same arena his father played in as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1990s.
But coach John Beilein felt defense was the decisive factor after holding Wofford to 34 percent shooting.
“We were able to get a win, basically, with our defense today,” Beilein said, “and that’s something a lot of people wouldn’t say if they watched us this year.”
A 39 percent shooter from long range on the season, Cochran finished with 17 points on 1-of-10 shooting from 3-point territory on Thursday and 8 of 21 overall.
“Some nights, unfortunately, the ball doesn’t drop in the basket,” he said. “Unfortunately, we just faced a tough night from the 3-point line.”
Michigan was never truly threatened in spite of Wofford’s second-half spurt, leading 34-20 at halftime thanks in part to 11 points from Robinson.
Cochran was the only Terrier who scored in double figures. Skinner finished with six points and six rebounds, while Justin Gordon had eight points off the bench on 4-of-5 shooting.