NEW YORK (Ticker) -- No matter how sloppy things were, 17th-ranked Arizona was determined to continue its success at Madison Square Garden.
Despite making one basket in overtime and suffering through an awful shooting night, the Wildcats advanced to the championship of the Preseason NIT with a 61-60 victory over Michigan.
Coming off an 18-point loss at Virginia on Sunday, Arizona's nine-game winning streak at Madison Square Garden seemed in jeopardy as it shot just 31 percent (22-of-70) from the field, including 1-of-8 in the extra period.
But the Wildcats (3-1) kept their streak going with an tremendous defensive effort that culminated in Michigan's Daniel Horton missing a scoop shot with one second remaining.
With numerous defenders around Horton, the shot caromed off the front of the rim and Channing Frye grabbed his 13th rebound.
The gritty rebounding and defense enabled Arizona to advance to the title game for the fourth time. It will face top-ranked Wake Forest, which beat Providence in the first game.
Arizona won the championship here in 1990, 1995 and 1999. Coach Lute Olson attributed the win to the what previous teams have done here.
"I think they have a lot of confidence because of what Arizona teams have done in the past," he said. "That was the big challenge that we had is that the other guys that have played here, have gotten this streak and one of them said, 'We're not going to see this streak break on our watch.'"
"We love being in this building," said Arizona's Salim Stoudemire, who did not start due to a sprained ankle. "We like the atmosphere."
Including a win from his stint at Long Beach State, Olson has won all 11 of his visits here but faces his biggest challenge to date Friday against the Demon Deacons. The streak started December 15, 1973 with a 60-46 victory over Long Island University.
"They will have to play as well as they absoulutely can play on Friday night to keep that streak going," he said.
In a back-and-forth contest, the Wolverines forged a 55-55 tie with 51 seconds left in regulation on Dion Harris' basket.
After both teams missed chances for the win in regulation, Arizona grabbed the lead for good when Mustafa Shakur split a pair at the line for a 58-57 lead with 3:13 remaining.
After Horton missed on Michigan's next possession, freshman Jawann McClellan converted a layup for a 60-57 advantage with 2:02 left.
Trailing, 61-59, Michigan (3-1) had a chance to tie, but Chris Hunter made only 1-of-2 from the line with 49 seconds remaining.
"We're disappointed," Wolverines coach Tommy Amaker said. "We battled very hard and we played a scrappy, tough game against a scrappy, tough team. I think they were battling as hard as we were and it's evident by how close the game was played."
Shakur scored 13 points and Ivan Radenovic added 12 for Arizona.
Dion Harris scored 16 points for the Wolverines, who were trying to become the first team to capture the Preseason NIT after winning the postseason NIT the previous season. Michigan faces Providence in Friday's consolation game.