By John Marshall
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Moritz Wagner scored six points during Michigan’s closing 11-0 run, helping the Wolverines beat VCU 68-60 on Wednesday for fifth place in the Maui Invitational.
The Rams and Wolverines already had one tight game in Maui and they were in close duel for fifth after a series of runs by both teams.
Michigan (5-1) had the final one, keyed by Wagner’s three-point play with 1:11 left and 3-pointer from the wing with 13 seconds remaining.
Duncan Robinson led the Wolverines with 18 points, and Wagner finished with 12 and nine rebounds.
Khris Lane led VCU (3-3) with 13 points. De’Riante Jenkins and Mike’l Simms added 12 each.
VCU was unable to make plays down the stretch in an opening loss to Marquette before bouncing back with a lopsided victory over Cal.
Like the Rams, the Wolverines felt like they let a victory slip through their grasp in its first-game loss to LSU and followed with a runaway victory over Division II Chaminade.
VCU and Michigan had a tight game, neither team able to gain much separation in the first half. Michigan led 36-30 behind Robinson’s 10 points.
The Wolverines were able to stretch the lead to 10 with a 7-0 run early in the second half.
Then VCU’s press started giving Michigan problems; not always resulting in turnovers, just disrupting its offensive flow. The Rams held the Wolverines scoreless for nearly five minutes and used a 13-2 run to go up 53-49.
Michigan took its turn to go running, scoring eight straight points to go up 57-53, but VCU scored seven straight, only to allow the Wolverines to answer with one final push.
Michigan showed some determination in its final game in Maui, leaving paradise a respectable 2-1.
VCU failed to make the plays down the stretch for the second time in three games, leaving Maui 1-2.
Michigan hosts UC Riverside on Sunday.
VCU hosts Appalachian State on Tuesday.
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