Post-Game: A win! Michigan kept afloat all game and made their run when they had to tonight. Ekpe, DeShawn, Manny and Ant clearly had very solid games. Unsung hero of the night was CJ Lee, he made some big plays to finally get us over the hump. He’s a leader and while he has limitations to his game he plays hard D and makes things happen.
Ekpe was a monster on defense putting up 8 points, 6 blocks and 3 rebounds. We also saw the DeShawn Sims that we needed to see, he finished (6-12 for 16pts) and he rebounded (9 rebounds). With about 3 minutes left in the first half DeShawn was about to get subbed out and then he got a three point play and a rebound and stayed in the game. Ant Wright didn’t come in and DeShawn got some confidence for the second half.
One thing that I loved was getting the ball in the post. I think we had 10 points in the post down the stretch in the second half. Ekpe and DeShawn need to get touches in there. They both had their way with Penn State defenders and while DeShawn struggles finishing at times his spin move is nasty.
Good game all around, lets take the momentum down into Iowa next week.
Pre-Game: Penn State has lost 8 of their last 9 games, Michigan has lost 7 of their last 8 (and 11 of their last 12). But somehow the Nittany Lions knocked off MSU at home. Penn State is damaged goods without Claxton though and they are a team that Michigan should be able to beat with a good effort. It has been a long time since Manny and DeShawn put together solid games at the same time. DeShawn tells the Free Press that he “has not been playing well“, he is shooting just 35% in BigTen play. Some of the role players have started hitting shots and making plays but now we need to put it all together.
Hopefully Kelvin Grady can get his game in gear, he had a solid game at Ohio State on the offensive end. Meanwhile Beilein has been on the road (as we can see by the targets popping up left and right) more than any other season in his 30 year career. Hopefully it pays dividends.
UMHoops Prediction: Michigan 72 – PSU 70
Also, please try to make it out to the game if you can today, the crowds are embarrassingly bad and it is a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.