Game 10: Michigan vs Oakland Post Game

Dylan Burkhardt

Laval Lucas-Perry lived up to the hype in his debut. Laval was 4 of 6 on three pointers for 14 points in only 16 minutes. “LL Cool P” had plenty of help, Stu Douglass set the tone by nailing three straight triples in the early going and DeShawn Sims scored a team high 20 points. Not to mention Manny Harris who set a career high with 13 assists and no turnovers to go with his 15 points. It was a team effort but Manny Harris was the catalyst as he shredded Oakland’s zone defense by driving and kicking all night long.

Laval Lucas-Perry

Oakland stuck around even after Michigan opened up a 17 point lead and they managed to cut the lead to 4 points late in the 2nd half. Yet again Michigan held tough and put the game away with an 10-2 run that included a Harris layup followed by Novak and Grady triples. I was disappointed to see the lead disappear but I was proud of how this team stuck in there. We can look at individual improvements (and there are plenty of them) but the biggest difference in this year’s team is their chemistry and composure.

There is plenty to digest regarding the rotation today. The starters remained the same: Merritt, Douglass, Harris, Shepherd, and Sims. Merritt (18 min) and Grady (22) got all of the minutes at point guard while Douglass and Lucas-Perry got most of the minutes at the two. Harris (36) and Lee (4) handled the three but Novak made his debut at the 4. Novak played 25 minutes and a lot of them were on the wing at the expense of Jevohn Shepherd, who only played 10 minutes, and Anthony Wright who didn’t get off the bench. The small line up makes rebounding an even bigger liability but it also lets Michigan extend opposing defenses even further.

I’m sure the line up will continue to be tweaked but right now it doesn’t seem like Lucas-Perry is ready to run the one. There were a couple times we had Grady, LLP, Harris, Novak, Sims out there and that’s a little worrisome in terms of size but this roster is so guard-centric that I don’t know what else Beilein can do. It will also be interesting to see whether this was a product of Oakland’s tricky zone defense or whether it will be used going forward. Here is what Stu had to say on spreading the floor with him and Zack out there at the same time:

“I liked it a lot. With the addition of Lava (Lucas-Perry), we can mix it up more and have Novak and I on the court at the same time. Zack and I can really spread the floor. We have been spreading the floor for Manny (Harris) and he has gotten a lot of points from it. Today, he had 13 assists because they were doubling him. It’s really how we complement his game.”

Three of the four factors were basically a wash but Michigan shot the ball better than the Golden Grizzlies. Michigan shot an eFG% of 59.8% to Oakland’s 50%. It’s also remarkable that Michigan has only turned it over 5 times in each of their last two games, tonight they had a turnover rate of only 8.1% and managed 24 assists.

Defensively Michigan stayed in mostly man to man and abandoned the 1-3-1 pretty early on. This is the second game they have thrown out the 1-3-1 and I would guess it had to do with Kangas being such a threat from deep as well as Oakland being a very solid offensive team.

Player Notes:

  • Laval Lucas-Perry: LLP came out shooting the ball and really found a rhythm. In the little ammount of 1-3-1 defense that Michigan played I believe LLP was on the wing. He didn’t look to have the best lateral quickness but looked solid on defense. He played off guard but boy is his shot pretty. 14 points and 2 boards in 16 minutes is not too shabby for a debut.
  • Manny Harris: Manny had a goose-egg at the break but ended up with 15 points when all was said and done. Manny’s scoring wasn’t what he brought to the game today though. Manny’s 13 assists were 1 assist short of tying Gary Grant’s school record. 13 assists is impressive but I think Manny playing 36 minutes and not turning it over once is remarkable as well. Manny continues to let the game come to him and not force the issue.
  • DeShawn Sims: A quiet 20 points for Peedi tonight to go with his 9 boards. Peedi is falling in love with the baseline jumper but he also got it done around the rim. My only beef with Peedi’s game is that Keith Benson had 23 points and 11 boards.
  • Stu Douglass: Great to see Stu get off on the right foot. He had been struggling with his jump shot and hitting the first three threes of a game is going to get his confidence back up. Competition is a beautiful thing and all of these guards are going to force guys to elevate their games.
  • Zack Novak: Not the best day shooting but Novak hit a huge three late in the game when Oakland was coming back. The kid is a competitor and even though he’s a freshman I trust him hitting the big shots.
  • Zack Gibson: A good game for Zack’s confidence. Gibson only played 13 minutes but he had 6 points on 2-3 shooting as well as 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks. Michigan is going to need him this season so hopefully he can bring a solid effort from here on out.
  • Kelvin Grady: Grady posted another solid effort. He is great at pushing the ball and can stick the open three. He had one questionable shot but hit two three pointers and also pulled down 6 boards.

Overall a solid effort against a scrappy Oakland team who can fill it up. Michigan should move in to the top 25 this week after losses by Memphis, Davidson, and Marquette. This was also a great day for the Big Ten, Michigan State knocked off Texas, Minnesota beat Louisville, and Purdue handled Davidson. The conference is going to be a dogfight but these non-conference wins could give the Big Ten an extra bid or two in March (#1 conference RPI *fell to #2 overnight). There are two more cupcakes on the schedule but the Wisconsin game on December 31st looms large. If Michigan can continue to shoot the three ball like this (fourth game of the row over 40%) I think they can compete with anyone in the country.

One other note: I saw Trey Zeigler at the game (his dad’s CMU team played before) and he went and shook Mike Jackson’s hand but I’m not sure where he went after that.

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  • Evan

    Thanks for the recap. Very well done. I need your in-depth analysis when I can’t catch the game on TV. I wish I could have seen LLP’s debut and it’s good to hear it went well. I’d love to see us wrap up these next two games and head into the conference schedule with a remarkable non-conference mark.


  • WOW! AS I was watching late in the game it occured to me that this is a completely different basketball team/program. The attitude, fundamentals, schemes and every thing else has transformed into something fun to watch. I would like to thank coach Beilein !

  • BJ

    LL Cool P & Manny Fresh. Love it

  • Kevin

    LLP was definitely impressive with limited minutes, but overall I felt we played pretty sloppy today. Defensively, we had several lapses. Benson killed us inside. I don’t know if this was a product of us experimenting with different combinations now that LLP is back, or we just played a poor game. Our offense had a couple of bad stretches, particularly the end of the 1st half and beginning of the second half. We bailed ourselves out by shooting so well from 3, which is a good sign, but we might have trouble winning big ten games when we struggle from beyond the arc. Hopefully, it can get worked out during these next 2 cupcakes before the Wisco game,

  • FL Wolve

    I wouldn’t say this was a sloppy game at all. When the two teams combine for 10 total turnovers, that sounds like a well played game to me.

  • MoreBlueThanGold

    If 5 turnovers, 44 pct 3’s, and 16/17 FT is sloppy, I’ll take sloppy.

  • GregGoBlue

    I love that quote by Stu: “It’s really how we complement (Manny’s) game.”

    It’s true, this squad’s chemistry is tangible. Everybody is comfortable in his role and is selfless towards the team. Good qualities I want in a winning basketball team.

  • Andrew

    I think Beilein was trying to focus on the man-to-man defense today as I saw very little zone. That’s why Benson killed us. We just don’t have a big man that can match up with opponents big men. We’ll be playing the 1-3-1 against stiffer competition.

  • AG

    Its scary. This team is EVERYTHING Amaker’s teams weren’t: smart, disciplined, confident, fearless, and good shooters.

    They don’t quit, they don’t panic, they don’t take terrible shots, they don’t throw the ball away. Every game makes Beilein look better and better and Amaker look worse and worse.

  • ryan

    you know, I was wondering why zack was at the 4 spot at only 6’5. Then i thought about it. He is a step up from ant in just about every category and he is only 1 inch shorter. Why not have him out there and have a 2 man rotation for every position.
    It works out with merrit and grady, stu and llp, manny and lee, shep and novak, and then sims and gibson.

  • Just started rewatching some of the game… That first stretch where everyone was hitting everything (Mich threes on first four possessions) Oakland was getting and making open looks against the 1-3-1. I think that man to man was a result of just how good of shooters OU (especially Kangas) has.

    But man oh man, I was sitting near across the court and didn’t realize that all three of Stu’s triples to start were NBA range. Kid has range :-)

  • El Capitan

    I was with my fellow Maize Ragers behind the basket, and I’ll tell you what… I couldn’t see ANYTHING other than the ball go through the hoop (which there was plenty of in the first few minutes. It looked to me like just about all of the 3’s were NBA range, and so many of Oakland’s shots in the second half (Benson especially) looked like easy baskets (though I’m sure a lot of them weren’t).

    Let’s just say I’m glad the Maize Rage stands on the sideline and not the baseline like at a lot of other schools…

  • Pat

    I was at the game, and I was wondering if anybody else found that the officials called a pretty bad game. I know it sounds like I am just a homer, but it seemed like the calls were going in Oakland’s favor all night.

    Also, if anyone else saw the first game, did you think that was an absolute slugfest? It seemed like that there was a hard foul on half of the plays and there were two nasty falls down by one of the baskets within like two minutes of each other.

  • jmblue

    I was at the game (though not the first one) and I thought OU definitely got the benefit of the doubt on a few close calls. The worst was right before halftime when Manny was clearly pushed out and the refs whistled him for stepping on the endline. I thought OU’s big guys got away with a lot of contact inside, too.

    I was a little surprised to find out that we only ended up with five turnovers. (And how did Manny finish the game with none when he got whistled for stepping out on that play I just described?) I thought we were a bit sloppier than that stat suggests, especially late in the first half. I can believe that we had 24 assists, though. Our ball movement was phenominal. Every time OU chipped away at the lead, we’d have a great possession and get a good look for a basket.

  • Mike

    There were three AWFUL calls on the first half (that Manny Harris one was particularly bad, along w/ Dan “the Man” Waterstadt getting rewarded for flopping like Varejao). Luckily we were able to play through it.

  • Jay

    Really solid win, shows the team’s ability to adapt on offense. The ten man rotation even without Wright and Cronin amazes me. Coach B probably wants to keep his 5th year senior captains involved. Maybe good for chemistry but it just seems like Grady’s energy would be great to have a tip-off.

  • Jay

    Other thing–so just how tall is LLP? Seen him listed at anywhere between 6′-6’3″. He did look bigger than I expected.

  • Sheryl

    Glad the stream worked for everyone.
    Douglass and LLP’s shots were fun to watch tonight!
    One of our region newspapers had a good article on Novak – I had forgotten that Oakland was one of the schools that had offered him.
    Glad we get to watch them play again in a few days. A week is just way too long!
    In case I don’t post again before Thursday, Merry Christmas to all!

  • JimC

    Wow it seemed like all 10 who played were solid. Beilein seems to have the good problem of too many good players now! (wonder what happened to Ant?)

    B10 looks strong top to bottom. The only bad/mediocre team is IU.

  • JimC

    Jay, maybe you saw this, but the official site lists him at 6’3″, on Should be as credible as anything else online.

    Also, check out the pub for Manny on today’s Rivals page,

  • Jay

    Jim thanks, yes, I’ve seen that. Was just wondering what those who were at the game (Dylan?) thought because there’s been some question as to whether LLP’s actually as tall as the 6’3″ he’s listed at.

  • Manny was quoted as saying LLP hits like 90% in practice and anything less than his performance against OU would have been disappointing. I know he is exaggerating but I dont think he would say something like this unless LLP was a sharpshooter! Douglas, LLP, Novak and Grady have shown they can shoot the rock as opposed to last season when UM could not buy a bucket.

  • ryan

    i saw some 2009 nba draft rankings and Manny Harris was ranked around 50th (which if it were to go in order, he would be drafted.) If Manny continues to rise, do you think he would go this year? I doubt it but it’s just a question. There was also talk on the same site about deshawn sims establishing himself as a nba power foward. What do you all think?
    I would think manny will atleast wait one more year and Peedi will for sure be back for his senior season!

  • Dirtgrain

    In the latter part of the game, I was expecting some zone to negate Oakland’s big men posting up (several times they made it look easy). But Kangas hit some nice shots. I liked what I saw from Oakland on offense, but their defense looked weak at times (not that Michigan wasn’t strong on offense).

  • jmblue: Good call on the push out, that would have to be a turnover for Manny I would think….

    Ryan: Manny might go if he’s a projected first rounder but right now I don’t think he is.

    RE: LLP’s Height. I don’t think he’s 6-3. I noticed him standing next to Stu who is also listed at 6-3 and he was a little shorter.

  • Giddings

    I don’t know if it’s a foregone conclusion yet that we are ranked this week, sinc Memphis, Marquette, and Davidson all lost to teams ranked higher than them. The winner of the Clemson/Miami game tonight will be ranked (I know Clemson is already, so if Miami won they would just switch), plus watch out for Minnesota – I think a lot of people realized just yesterday that they’re undefeated, and that combined with a recent nationally-televised win over a Top 10 team can go a long ways.

  • ryan

    i think that we will squeak in to the 25th spot.

  • Adam

    Dylan said it a few weeks ago and while being ranked would be great, those stupid polls don’t matter at all. Maybe in late Febuary people take stock of them and I’m sure it’d just be another accolade this team racks up. However we’ve been ranked and missed the Dance before so let’s not get too caught up if we are on the outside looking in again.

  • Mith

    As much as I want to see them ranked, I wonder if being on the outside going into the Big Ten schedule would help them stay focuses and possibly more motivated. I am nervous already thinking about the Wisconsin opener. Its a big one to try to get started on the right foot!!

  • The Oracle

    This team’s goal isn’t to be ranked, you can bet on that. Them being ranked 23rd-25th isn’t going to make them “take it easy”.

  • BJ

    Free student tix tomorrow?

  • Voice of Reason

    Fox sports currently have them ranked at #24.

  • Voice of Reason: I think that’s last weeks rankings per the notes about Michigan.