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Michigan's Jordan Poole: 'Gotta always be ready for the opportunity'

WICHITA, Kan. -- Jordan Poole just didn't want to get tackled.

The Michigan freshman hit a 3-pointer as time expired to give the Wolverines a 64-63 win over Houston in the second round of the NCAA tournament Saturday night -- and didn't even realize he made the shot.

"After the shot went in, I didn't know it went in," Poole said. "I looked at the bench. I was always thinking if I hit a shot like that, I didn't want to get tackled. So I was kind of trying to avoid everybody, but I gave up and they tackled me and it was an amazing experience."

Houston took a two-point lead with 24 seconds left on a Devin Davis free throw. Michigan had a chance to tie, but Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman missed a shot with six seconds left. Davis went back to the free throw line to potentially seal the game. After going 9-for-10 from the line, he missed both free throws, and Michigan forward Moe Wagner grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 3.6 seconds left.

In the timeout, coach John Beilein drew up a play the Wolverines knew well.

Guard Zavier Simpson told ESPN the play is called "Indiana."

"We ran that hundreds of times this year in practice; worked on it," Simpson said in the locker room. "We definitely know that's the play."

Michigan hadn't run the play to completion in a game yet this season, using it once before to advance the ball to half court before calling timeout.

On Saturday, the Wolverines executed.

Isaiah Livers threw the inbounds pass to Abdur-Rahkman near half court. Abdur-Rahkman dribbled toward the middle of the court, then passed to Poole, who caught it with 1.6 seconds on the clock. Poole turned and shot, splitting his legs in midair.

The shot fell through, sending Michigan to the Sweet 16.

"In situations like that, you just kinda gotta be ready," Poole said. "And I definitely thought [Abdur-Rahkman] was going to shoot it, but I saw that he kind of got swarmed by defenders, and I tried to find the gate to get open, and I just hit the shot."

Poole had played only 10 minutes in the game before the final minute and had missed all nine of his 3-point attempts in the Big Ten tournament earlier this month.

"I think the guys on the team know that I never lose confidence, and you just gotta always be ready for the opportunity and for the moment," Poole said.

His teammates and coaches said they were lost for words.

"I'm a little speechless right now," Beilein said. "I'm just trying to appreciate the moment of what just happened."

"I'm kind of in another world right now," Charles Matthews told ESPN. "We're winning, bro! I don't know what to say. When you see the shot go in, you're just like [jaw dropped]."

Poole's shot masked a tough day for Michigan overall. Before the shot, Michigan was 7-for-29 from 3-point range for the game. The Wolverines had struggled mightily against Houston's man-to-man defense. At the other end, Houston star Rob Gray was causing issues for Michigan's defense, including a stretch in which Gray scored 10 straight points midway through the second half.

The 3-pointer from Poole was Michigan's fourth field goal in the final 10 minutes.

"I feel like we kind of let officiating affect our demeanor out there," Matthews said. "We can't play like that. Be mad about fouls getting called. You can kind of see people not playing with the swagger that we started with. That's not us, that's not who we are."

Michigan advanced to play the winner of Sunday's matchup between North Carolina and Texas A&M.

"You're taking any win, however you can get it right now," Matthews said. "However you can get it."