Michigan avoided a let down Tuesday night and handled Norfolk State at home. Norfolk State is not a good team but Michigan took care of business with a 34 point win. Michigan might have been a little too fired up early in the game and it showed with their brutal 0-10 shooting to start. The game was only 2-0 Norfolk State at the first TV time out after a pair of free throws. Luckily Michigan settled in after a Stu Douglass three pointer and rolled from there. Highlights!
Michigan played fast and looked to run from the opening tip, Michigan had 75 possessions compared to their season average of 62. You often hear that transition threes aren’t good shots but I don’t think Beilein has a problem with them. Michigan shot 33% for the game from long range and took 27 treys. I thought most of the shots were good looks, there are only one or two questionable shots that come to mind (Stu took a really deep triple).
Overall there were plenty of sloppy moments that had Beilein pulling his hair out, but you can’t really complain that much over a 34 point win.Â 5 players managed double figures: Manny Harris (16), Anthony Wright (12), Zack Novak (10), Jevohn Shepherd (11), and DeShawn Sims (11). The defense also was very good throughout the night. Holding Norfolk State to 49 points on 75 possessions is impressive.
A couple highlights on an individual basis:
Jevohn Shepherd: Best game he has played at Michigan, Jevohn did a little bit of everything. He hit a three, drove the lane, had some rebounds, didn’t turn it over, and stepped up when Gibson went down. His final stat line: 17 minutes, 11 points (5-9), 3 assist, 0 TO, 4 rebs
Manny Harris: I was a big fan of moving Manny to the wing and he seems a lot more comfortable there. Manny had 16 points on 7-13 shooting, 15 rebounds, and 4 assists in only 26 minutes. Manny didn’t force it either, his shots weren’t there early in the first half but he didn’t force things. Norfolk State wasn’t necessarily
“I am just more comfortable and I am stronger. Over the summer I worked on ball-handling, shooting and getting stronger. Now I feel like I am more of a complete player.”
I think Manny wraps it up pretty well, last year he could score, this year he’s doing it all.
Kelvin Grady: Kelvin didn’t shoot it well but had 5 assists to 1 turnover. He looked pretty good running the break at times but he still had some of those “Grady moments”. The one that comes to mind is a pass into Cronin in the high post with less than 15 seconds left in the half that went the other way for an easy layup. A solid game from Grady though and he is definitely starting to get more comfortable.
Stu Douglass: Stu can play, he’s not going to jump out of the gym but he can shoot it and pass it just as well as anyone on this team. I’m still waiting for a game when he really gets hot to see him do some real damage. He just looks really comfortable in the offense and his shoot is a thing of beauty when it goes up.
Zack Novak: Novak struggled a bit in New York City but he looked to be getting back on the right track tonight. Zack had 10 points (4-7) and 4 rebounds in 16 minutes. The highlight of Zack’s game was when he took it coast to coast, splitting two defenders for a lay up. I think it’s too early to count Zack out from being a contributor on this team, he missed a week or so of practice before the season and is still catching up a bit.
Anthony Wright: I think it might be time to end this experiment. Anthony missed 5 shots during Michigan’s 0-10 start. I think a lot of the time Anthony just tries to do too much out there, 10 shots in a game is too much for Anthony at this stage in his career. He settled down a bit later in the game and hit some shots but it was not his finest night.
Laval Lucas-Perry: The hype builds… Apparently Tim McCormick anointed Laval Lucas-Perry as the best Michigan point guard since Rumeal Robinson. I didn’t hear the quote but I saw it mentioned in various places. I think this might be a little bit of a stretch for a guy that might not even be a pure point guard but I really do think Laval will make a big difference on this team.
Zack Gibson: Gibson went down hard early on a layup where he got fouled. He landed hard and it’s apparently a tailbone injury. Here’s what Beilein had to say:
“He fell right on his tailbone on the little step across move under the basket. He just fell right on it. He tried to give it a go and he was really in a lot of pain. Usually a tailbone bruise is a matter of a few days we hope, so we have to treat it with ice right now. If it had been a closer game, I think that we could have done a few more things with him, but it as a shame he got hurt, he was having a good night.”
His “good night” included 1 basket, a missed free throw, and 3 boards in 6 minutes. Hopefully Zack is ok but it was nice to see Jevohn get some minutes.
Overall it was a fun game to watch and the crowd was actually not bad for an 8:30 tip against Norfolk. The student section was packed for a game against a team like Norfolk State and it’s safe to say that a little (just a little) bit of excitement is surrounding Michigan basketball.
There were some fun plays, some dunks, and we even outrebounded them 53-37! Fun night at Crisler and Michigan has to keep the momentum rolling. A win over Norfolk State doesn’t really say much (I would guess they will have an RPI of 300+ when all is said and done) but a win is a win.