Michigan takes care of business at home against Iowa in a 60 possession game. Michigan set the tone early on with their defense and didn’t let up until the game was out of reach. Michigan forced the tempo the best they could and managed to force the tempo despite Todd Lickliter calling timeouts at every possible moment. Michigan only won the game by 15 points but they dominated the entire game and probably should have won by the thirty or so points that they were up late in the second half.
Michigan’s final shooting statistics weren’t particularly impressive but they were dampened by a long scoring drought at the end of the second half when the game was in hand. Michigan shot an effective FG% of 49.9% while making 42.2% of their shots and 34.3% of their triples.Â They held onto the ball very well with an 18.7 turnover percentage and also beat Iowa on the offensive glass with a 33% offensive rebounding percentage.
Defense is where Michigan made their mark today. Michigan forced Iowa into turnovers on 30% of their possessions thanks to 12 steals. I asked for a solid first half defensive performance and Michigan answered by holding the Hawkeyes to 16 first half points. They also held the hot shooting Hawkeyes to a 46.5% eFG% (their 4th lowest all year) on 39.5% shooting overall. Iowa didn’t have a scorer in double digits until Matt Gatens got to 11 points with around 2 minutes left in the game. I know Iowa was without Cyrus Tate but Michigan hasn’t really shut anyone down all year so this was a very impressive defensive effort in my book.
This was a big win for Michigan because they have to take care of business against teams like Iowa at home this year to keep themselves in good shape down the road. With such a tough schedule in the second half of the Big Ten it’s critical for Michigan to keep themselves to have a solid first half. Iowa is supposed to be a middle of the pack Big Ten team and they have played tough at Ohio State and against Minnesota but they have yet to win any big games. This week Michigan faces a stiff test at Illinois on Wednesday and a big home game against a limping Ohio State team on Saturday night.
- Manny Harris: The only thing that I can fault Manny for today is turning the ball over a couple too many times. Other than that Manny had a monster game: 18 points on 6-12 (2-4 3pt) shooting with 8 boards, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 4 turnovers. There were still a couple questionable three point shots but I loved Manny’s effort on defense today as well as on the glass.
- DeShawn Sims: Definitely not Peedi’s best day: 16 points on 8-15 (0-1 3pt) shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 turnover. Peedi had a lot of open looks go in and out or just not fall and he could have ended up with 20+ points. I guess the fact that we are calling 16 points on over 50% shooting a bad day is a good thing.
- Kelvin Grady: Grady continued his solid play today: 8 points on 3-6 (2-4 3pt) shooting with 4 assists, 1 steal, and 0 turnovers. Kelvin can push the tempo while managing not to turn it over and if he continues to do that he’s going to keep seeing his minutes increase.
- Zack Novak: Novak continues to play big minutes at the four where he is becoming the guy: 5 points on 1-6 (1-5 3pt) shooting with 5 boards, 3 assists, and a steal. Zack also had a really nice pass on a backdoor attempt that ended up in free throws. His shot wasn’t falling but he allows Michgan to stretch opposing defenses and he had a couple three pointers that were almost in.
- Laval Lucas-Perry: My favorite thing that LLP brings to this team is the ability to get in the lane: Laval had 8 points on 2-5 (1-3 3pt) shooting with 3 out of 4 free throws as well as 4 boards, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, and 2 steals. Laval is so potent because he is such a threat from long range that defenses have to play him close and allow him to drive.
- CJ Lee: CJ brings so much heart and hustle to this team that it can’t be overstated: 11 minutes, 2 points on 1-3 shooting, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and one steal. The play of the game for me is when CJ hustled for a loose ball on defense before chasing a missed shot on the break away and saving it from going out of bounds.
- Zack Gibson: Not Zack’s day today, 1-5 shooting and 1 board in 11 minutes. Zack just wasn’t hitting but in the end Michigan didn’t really need him.
- Stu Douglass: Stu is struggling with his shot but he had a great dish to Gibson in the lane. Hopefully Stu can start finding his range again but I think he’s struggling with reduced minutes.
- Dave Merritt: Dave’s minutes are falling and I know he was sick earlier this week but Kelvin is just bringing a lot more to the team at the point guard at this point.
- Eric Puls: The walk on killer with the three pointer late in the game.