This “must win” was no problem for Michigan as they cruised past Minnesota in a 66 possession game. It is pretty obvious but this offense is damn fun to watch when the shots are going in. It was the first time Michigan shot over 40% from behind the arc since the Illinois home win 13 games ago. Novak came out on fire and hit four three pointers in the first 11 minutes of the game and after that the shooting touch was contagious. Michigan rolled to a 40-25 lead at halftime and didn’t look back in the second half.
The supporting cast usually comes out at home and this was definitely the case today. The Northwestern game was all about Manny Harris but this one was all about everyone else. Zack Novak had 18 points while Douglass, Grady, and Sims all added 12 a piece. The game got sloppy down the stretch but Michigan really dominated this one and had a lead greater than 20 points for a nice stretch in the second half. Down the stretch Michigan missed front ends of 1 and 1s, missed quick shots, and let Minnesota get a couple easy buckets but this game was never in question. If you would have told me Manny Harris would have played 22 minutes with 4 fouls, 8 points, 6 rebounds, 5 turnovers, and 2 assists I would have told you that Michigan lost. I’ll gladly take the easy win without Manny.
Michigan dominated the four factors of the game. They held Minnesota to an eFG% of 49.1% while shootings an eFG% of 56.8% themselves. Michigan also won the turnover battle, forcing Minnesota to turn the ball over on 18.7% of their possessions while only turning it over on 12.5% of their own. The most impressive thing to me was Michigan’s effort on the glass. Minnesota only rebounded 16.7% of their misses, a season low.Â Michigan didn’t pull down that many offensive boards but that is a hell of an effort on the defensive glass against the 2nd best offensive rebounding team in the conference.
Don’t look now but Michigan has won three of their last five games, are in the midst of their first winning streak since early January, and have scrapped back to a .500 confernece record. A win Sunday in Iowa City would have this thing headed back in the right direction and set up the huge contest with Purdue next week. Michigan has to take it one step at a time and realize that a road trip to Iowa is no cakewalk. The Hawkeyes have had a week to get healthy and prepare for Michigan and they aren’t going to roll over.
Recruiting. Ray McCallum (profile) and Amir(e) Williams (profile) were in the house with what looked to be a bunch of their DCD teammates. Devin Oliver (profile), a 6-foot-5 wing forward from Kalamazoo Central also made it in for his visit.
- Zack Novak: On fire: 6 for 10 on three pointers for 18 points in 36 minutes with 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Can’t ask for much more from Zack. A couple of those shots looked like fouls in the first half but I saw Hightower explain to Zack at halftime that he wasn’t getting that call because of the way he kicks his leg out on his shot.
- Stu Douglass: 12 points on 6-10 shooting with 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 turnovers. Solid effort for Stu and he easily could have had a few more points if he made a few more free throws and layups. This is the first game that Stu and Zack have both hit multiple three point shots since Norfolk State on November 25th.
- Kelvin Grady: Great to see Kelvin hitting his shots: 12 points in 14 minutes on perfect shooting (3 for 3 on triples) to go along with 3 assists and 1 turnover. Kelvin looked great against the press and hit all his open looks. I would hesitate to call his performance perfect but it is definitely a start. Kelvin got a chance with Manny getting in foul trouble and he made the most of it, even if he still had a couple defensive lapses (I won’t comment more specifically yet because I haven’t watched the tape).
- Manny Harris: Manny never really got going because of foul trouble and everyone else rolling. It turns out that he wasn’t needed so I guess that is ok. He had some frustrating turnovers (the look on Beilein’s face when he threw that “alley oop” was priceless) but he did a great job on the glass (6 rebounds in 22 minutes) and starting the break off the rebound.
- DeShawn Sims: Peedi got a little jumper happy but he had overall a solid game. 12 points (5-16 shooting), 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals. I thought Peedi did a very good job on the defensive glass and he pulled down a lot of tough boards.
- CJ Lee: Not much to complain about with this line: 4 points (1-3 shooting), 4 rebonds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 0 turnovers while leading the team with 37 minutes. CJ got forced into a little extra duty because he had to pick up some of Manny’s minutes at the three (also why Kelvin got a chance off the bench in my opinion).
- Zack Gibson: 6 points (3 of 3 shooting) in only 8 minutes with 3 rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Another solid game for Zack but I think he picked up about three fouls on one possession in the second half and that earned him a seat on the bench. Gibson is giving the offense a nice spark, he is shooting 57% (15/26) from the field in Michigan’s last 6 games.
- Laval Lucas-Perry: 6 minutes, 0-2 shooting, 2 assists for Laval. I liked how he tried to penetrate but he was getting swatted out there. I think this is Laval’s role on this team right now, 8-10 minutes off the bench spelling Stu, and I think I’m ok with it.
- Dave Merritt: 3 assists and a steal in 9 minutes, fine effort for Merritt off the bench. I loved his hustle on the loose ball to cause the tie-up in the second half.
- Jevohn Shepherd: Shep had a couple nice back door cuts but I think he also got caught way out of position in the 1-3-1 in the first half. His final numbers were 2 points on 3 shots in 4 minutes with a steal.
- Eddie Hightower: The man can travel, he has officiated 6 games in 6 days, I think I’ve watched at least 4 of them and been frustrated in every one. It’s not just the players that step up down the stretch. In all seriousness, I think there needs to be some kind of limit on the number of games these guys can officiate in a week.
- Red Panda: The best halftime show made its return to Ann Arbor, I don’t think there is anything cooler than watching someone on a unicycle flip 5 bowls on to their head.