Ann Arbor, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - The No. 1 Arizona Wildcats stayed among the ranks of the unbeaten Saturday after surviving the Michigan Wolverines in their first-ever visit to the Crisler Center.
Michigan was seemingly in control throughout the intense matchup and led by as many as 11 before the Wildcats showed why they rose to the top of the polls.
Nick Johnson hit the tying and go-ahead free throws with 24.6 seconds remaining and Arizona escaped with a hard-fought 72-70 victory in hostile territory.
"Obviously it's a lot easier to be excited about a game when you're the winner," said Arizona coach Sean Miller, "but I really felt like it was just an incredible battle, a great college basketball game. ... I can't say enough about Michigan."
The frontcourt combination of Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Aaron Gordon were the difference, as the trio combined for 46 points and 20 rebounds, while Johnson finished with 14 points in the victory.
The Wildcats (11-0) owned a 37-24 edge on the glass and made all but one of their 15 free throws attempts, including six from Johnson in crunch time.
Glenn Robinson III led Michigan with 20 points, but 16 of those came in the first half. Caris LeVert and Nik Stauskas provided 15 and 14 points, respectively, for the Wolverines (6-4), who fell to 2-24 all-time against No. 1 ranked opponents.
"Wow. What a great team we just played," said Michigan coach John Beilein. "That is as solid and well-coached (a team) as I've seen. So it felt good that we were right there and with a break or two could have won the game."
Mitch McGary threw down a dunk on the first possession of the second half to give Michigan its biggest lead at 39-28, but Arizona responded by scoring five straight times down the floor to trim its deficit to 41-39.
The Wolverines continued to stay in front and held a 58-50 lead with under seven minutes to play, though a dunk by Gordon off an offensive rebound and two buckets by Ashley pulled the Wildcats back within two.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson's three-point play with 2:32 remaining gave Arizona its first lead since it was 7-5 just five minutes into the game.
There were four quick lead changes from there, one coming on a scoop from Stauskas that gave Michigan a 66-65 edge.
The Wolverines forced a miss at the other end, but T.J. McConnell grabbed a long offensive rebound, and Johnson was fouled by McGary away from the basket with 24.6 ticks to go.
Johnson made both free throws, then added two more after a Stauskas jumper rimmed out and a jump ball went in Arizona's favor to all but close out the win.
Michigan tied the school record for most 3-pointers (16) in last week's 54- point win over Houston Baptist and continued that trend by making six from long range in the first half on Saturday.
Robinson, Stauskas and Spike Albrecht all hit from long range during a 9-0 Michigan run that pushed the Wolverines' lead to 28-20 with 4 1/2 minutes left before the break.
Arizona scored the next six points to stay close, but Robinson capped his perfect first-half shooting performance from the field (7-for-7) with a late 3-pointer for a 37-28 Michigan cushion at the intermission.
Ashley scored 18 points while Gordon and Tarczewski each had 14 ... Arizona has won the rebounding battle in all 11 of its games this season ... The Wildcats gave up more than 66 points for the first time this season ... Michigan had won 20 straight non-conference home games ... The Wolverines went 8-of-17 from behind the arc.