After a rough first 9 minutes, Michigan regrouped and took care of business. This one was a tale of two halves, Eastern got out to an early 18-11 lead and Manny Harris went to the bench with 2 fouls when the Michigan “role players” stepped up. Everyone is calling for David Merrit and CJ Lee’s minutes to go to Laval Lucas-Perry but they at least gave Beilein something to think about today.
A couple of notes about the teams performance in general. The turnover percentage was phenomenal, Michigan turned it over on only 7.1% (5 out of 70) of their possessions and had 24 assists. Michigan also shot the ball very well, 52.2% (48.5% 3pt) for an eFG% of 64.2%. This is starting to look a lot more like patented “Beilein ball”, hold onto the ball and make 16 threes (school record!).
The only glaring flaw was the poor rebounding (also typical of Beilein ball). Eastern Michigan rebounded 37.2% of their missed shots and Michigan didn’t really get a body on anyone to box out all night. Jerry Dunn actually went with man to man almost exclusively in the 2nd half and scrapped the 1-3-1. I would assume this had to do with Eastern getting some easy looks coupled with the poor rebounding and going with something he’s more comfortable with.
- Dave Merritt: Dave had a big first half and really stepped up when Michigan was down early. In the first half he made both of his three point attempts and also had 3 rebounds. Merritt finished the game with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal.
- CJ Lee: CJ and Dave showed exactly why they are chosen as captains. CJ also hit a pair of three pointers in the first half when Manny went to the bench and Michigan was down. CJ isn’t the best shooter but those were just huge shots and he was ready when he was called on.
- Manny Harris: Manny decided to put on a clinic in the second half. Manny was held to 2 points (and 3 assists) in 8 minutes in the first half after picking up his 2nd foul. In the second half he decided to show off his three point shooting, including a stretch where he hit two threes in a row and scored 11 straight Michigan points. Manny finished the game with 22 points in 23 minutes on 8-16 (4-7 3pt) shooting, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 TO.
- Jevohn Shepherd: Shepherd is another guy who had a huge first half. In the first half Shep was 6-7 for 13 points. He didn’t get going in the second half but he wasn’t afraid to make plays in the first. Shep’s improvement is clear and he has established himself as the starting 4 on this team. Overall it just seems like the game has slowed down for Jevohn, as someone that has been a fan since he was a recruit I’m glad to see him playing well.
- Kelvin Grady: Yet another guard who had a huge first half. Kelvin was letting them rain from long range with 3 three pointers in the first half. Kelvin added a layup in the second and finished with 11 points on 4-5 (3-4) shooting and had 3 assists and no turnovers. He looks far more comfortable and confident on the court and that’s going to pay dividends down the road.
- DeShawn Sims: DeShawn looked to be on cruise control today. He scored 18 points but was only 7-17 (1-5 3pt) and really seemed to be settling for decent shots instead of getting inside.
- Zack Gibson: Scored some points in garbage time but is really struggling with his confidence. Michigan is going to need him this year so hopefully he can get it together.
- Eric Puls: He’s got the Beilein stroke! Great to see him get in there and make a three late.
- Ben Cronin: Cronin not getting in the game pretty much seals his fate as a redshirt. I noticed Pat Beilein talking to Ben for a while during the last time out and it looked like he was explaining the situation to him. I also got an email that Beilein mentioned Cronin would redshirt at an alumni function before the Maryland game.
- Others: Quiet day for the freshman, it was good to see Stu make a three but Novak never really got going. Anthony Wright didn’t get many minutes but didn’t force things either.
Overall Michigan took care of business and got the easy win. It was a little sloppy early but I think not having Beilein on the bench could be part of that. Hard to complain about a 31 point win no matter who it’s against. Hopefully Beilein can rest up and is ready to go next Saturday’s game at the Palace which should be the debut of Laval Lucas-Perry.