Opportunity missed. Michigan had their chance to pull out a home win but they just couldn’t finish off the Buckeyes despite being up 44-40 with 7:35 to play. The Buckeyes were the ones that seized the game with a 16-3 run over the next 6 minutes and left Ann Arbor with a big win.
Things didn’t go Michigan’s way for most of the contest. The Buckeyes got out to a hot start and led for most of the game. Even then Michigan clawed their way back into the game on the backs of Manny Harris and Stu Douglass in the second half before letting the game slip away. Protecting home court is absolutely critical in the Big Ten and dropping two of your first three home games is definitely not ideal.
On offense Michigan didn’t really get anything from anybody besides Manny Harris and Stu Douglass. DeShawn Sims found the soft spot in Ohio State’s match-up zone time and time again but just couldn’t make a basket. Sims had tons of open looks in the paint but only shot 4-13 for the game. Manny played an all around game and did everything he could to try to lead Michigan to a win. The match-up zone is tough to play against but I really think Michigan did a good job getting the ball in the right spots, they just couldn’t finish enough of them. Ohio State did provide some full court pressure that caused Michigan some problems and took them out of their comfort zone as well.
The Ohio State offense had their way with Michigan’s defense. The Wolverines just didn’t have the size the handle the Buckeyes. Ohio State found ways to get tons of easy buckets and dunks for BJ Mullens and Dallas Lauderdale whether they were off of penetration, from alley oops, or exploiting mismatches. Michigan did a decent job forcing turnovers, Ohio State turned it over on 25.6% of their possessions, but in the end that wasn’t enough to slow the Buckeyes who scored 65 points on 59 possessions. Those easy dunks and baskets are demoralizing for the crowd and the team and you just don’t want to give points away that easily.
Looking at the four factors, Ohio State won this game in two areas: by getting easy shots and getting to the line. The Buckeyes were only 3-11 from long range but were 21-33 from inside the arc for an effective field goal percentage of 58%. Ohio State had a free throw rate of 45.5% compared to Michigan’s 19.6%. Ohio State did take a few extra free throws down the stretch but in the end Evan Turner could get to the line and Manny Harris could not. Evan Turner posted a free throw rate of 116% while Manny Harris posted a free throw rate of only 25%. I can’t say whether Manny isn’t getting calls or Turner was getting the benefit of the doubt but Turner’s 14 free throw attempts were a huge difference in this game.
The road doesn’t get any easier for Michigan, next up a road game against a Penn State team who beat Purdue at home and gave Michigan State all they could handle. Winning on the road isn’t easy in the Big Ten but after dropping a couple early games Michigan is going to have to steal some road wins if they are serious about dancing. Every game is a new battle and Michigan has to put this one behind them. CJ Lee is confident the team can rebound:
“I don’t worry about the attitude of the team. Guys have been solid; they have been solid all year. We have dealt with adversity in this program for a long time. I am not worried at all; guys are going to bounce back like they always do.”
- Manny Harris: Complete game from Manny: 7-16 (3-6 3pt) for 21 points in 37 minutes with 7 boards, 6 assists, and 4 turnovers. The turnovers are a bit high but Manny had a huge game and carried the team. If Michigan had got much of anything from anyone else they win this game.
- Stu Douglass: Stu found his stroke a bit tonight: 4-9 three point shooting for 12 points. Stu hit some huge shots and kept Michigan in the game in the second half. It’s good to see him feel it a little and hopefully he can build some confidence.
- DeShawn Sims: Two troubling games in a row for Peedi: 4-13 shooting for 10 points with 6 rebounds. I don’t know if he is tired or what but DeShawn just has to make those shots inside. He’s going up against bigger guys but a lot of those shots just have to fall.
- Laval Lucas-Perry: MIA. LLP was 1-5 for 2 points and didn’t give Michigan much of anything. We just have to remember that he has only played a few college games and is a freshman in his first taste of Big Ten play. LLP is averaging just over 5 points per game and shooting 29% in his last three games.
- Zack Novak: Zack scrapped hard but isn’t finding his shot, he didn’t score his one field goal until he hit a three very late when the game was basically out of reach. It’s pretty clear he’s going to play though, Zack played 37 minutes, tied for the team lead with Manny.
- Kelvin Grady: Kelvin didn’t have his best game, he hit a couple big threes but not much more. He also had one huge turnover late in the game on a pass attempt to Stu Douglass that had no chance.
- CJ Lee: A charge, two assists, a steal, and a three pointer in 6 minutes. Not sure what else you can ask for.
- Dave Merritt: Not giving Michigan much of anything, Grady needs to continue to play through his struggles.