The Wolverines shot just 10-of-29 (34.5%) in the first half, and they entered the break down 28-27. The poor performance wasn’t a result of bad opportunities — Michigan had plenty of open looks. Things just weren’t falling.
Nowhere was that more apparent than a pair of back-to-back three-point attempts in transition early in the first half. On the first, Walton grabbed a defensive rebound — one of six on the night — and drove into the paint before dishing a difficult bounce pass to Kameron Chatman. The freshman forward had time to corral the low pass and take his shot, but it rattled out.
On the following possession, it was Chatman who grabbed the defensive board and found Walton. The guard created a look with a stepback crossover, but the ball rolled around the rim twice before falling out.
“We had — and probably a good thing — we had probably six three-pointers go in and out,” John Beilein said after the game. “And that’s a good thing because we now we know that’s going to happen sometimes. You still have to win with your defense.”
And when the Titans took a four-point lead early in the second half, that group got to work. Albrecht assisted on a Bielfeldt layup, then LeVert got a steal for an easy bucket, then Albrecht dished to LeVert for a three-pointer — and then again for a layup.
After going down 34-30, the Wolverines went on a 13-0 run, holding the Titans scoreless for more than five minutes of game time.
“Coach Beilein just went with the veteran group. We’re a little more comfortable. These guys know the system a little bit more, the defensive concepts, things like that,” Albrecht said. “I like playing with those guys. We all have the chemistry.”
Learning on the job is good, but sometimes it’s better to sit and watch.
Michigan’s freshmen are all promising players, but trailing Detroit early in the second half, John Beilein had no choice. He went with his veterans.
Much has been made about the fact that Beilein only has five scholarship players on his roster that aren’t freshmen, but that doesn’t mean he can’t put them all on the floor at once.
Spike Albrecht was inserted into the game just 67 seconds into the second half and he was followed shortly after by Max Bielfeldt, who didn’t even play in Michigan’s season opener.
Derrick Walton played all 40 minutes while Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin both registered 38. Michigan’s freshmen combined for just 34 minutes of playing time, just eight in the second half, while Spike Albrecht and Max Bielfeldt tallied 32 and 20 minutes respectively off the bench.
There’s a message in there and it’s not hard to figure out. This is how we play and this is how we win.
But beyond the message, there’s a problem. Michigan’s freshmen are going to be critical to this team’s eventual success or failure, but they just aren’t ready yet. A win is a win, but it’s a troubling red flag that Michigan’s big three played 116 minutes and scored 55 of 71 points in a home game against Detroit. It’s troubling that Max Bielfeldt, who has led Michigan’s big men in points and minutes the last two games, still has to play on the scout team in practice because he’s the only player that can run the team.
By Alejandro Zúñiga | 2014-15 Season | Posted on November 20, 2014 at 9:31 pm
John Beilein met with media Thursday night to discuss his team’s 71-62 win over Detroit. The Michigan coach explained his decision to turn to a veteran-laden lineup for the second half and talked about why the Titans were difficult to defend. Watch Beilein’s press conference with selected quotes after the jump.
By Alejandro Zúñiga | 2014-15 Season | Posted on November 20, 2014 at 9:13 pm
Detroit head coach Ray McCallum was on the podium to discuss Detroit’s nine point loss at Michigan on Thursday evening. McCallum discussed Juwan Howard Jr., son of former Fab Five star Juwan Howard, and what he thought of Michigan’s team. Watch the Detroit head coach’s comments in the embedded media player below.