Free throws can be an anticlimactic way of hitting a milestone.
But for Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, a trip to the charity stripe for career-points No. 999 and 1,000 came with all the drama he could ask for. Down a point in the waning moments, the senior guard toed the line with the game on his shoulders.
The moment wasn’t too big. Abdur-Rahkman knocked down both, giving the 23rd-ranked Wolverines (5-2 Big Ten, 16-4 overall) a 68-67 win over Maryland (3-4, 14-6) at Crisler Center on Monday night.
Even while riding a six-game winning streak, John Beilein began his press conference with a sentiment of trepidation.
“If one team is gonna beat us (with offensive rebounding), it’s this team,” the Michigan men’s basketball coach said last Friday before the Wolverines’ matchup against Illinois. “They’re really strong, and that’s part of their offense.”
That fear was justifiable — the Fighting Illini frontcourt is built on size and an eagerness to crash the boards, averaging a conference-high 12.1 offensive rebounds per game.
Throughout the season, the point guard position has been a source of limited production for the Michigan men’s basketball team.
In their previous game, freshman Eli Brooks and sophomore Zavier Simpson combined for just two points on three shot attempts facing a far inferior Jacksonville team.
But on Tuesday night, Simpson played the best game of his college career, tallying 15 points and 7 assists to lead the Wolverines (2-1 Big Ten, 13-3 overall) to a 75-68 win over Iowa (0-3, 9-7) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.