The first half was every bit as rough as Michigan’s recent performances but they managed to right the ship just enough to cruise to victory over a lackluster Arkansas Pine Bluff squad.
Michigan certainly didn’t play well but Pine Bluff was bad enough that it didn’t matter. Luckily Michigan’s big two, Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims, showed up. The first half was DeShawn Sims’ show as he scored 15 of Michigan’s 32 points. In the second half, Manny Harris went to work and put the game away thanks to three second half three point field goals.
Looking at the four factors, it’s clear that the difference in the game was Pine Bluff’s complete inability to hold onto the ball. The defense was pretty good, and much better in the second half, allowing only .7 points per possession. Both teams cleaned up on the defensive glass and there weren’t many offensive rebounds for either team.
Michigan’s offense just isn’t working right now. The three point shots aren’t falling but I don’t think the answer is to stop shooting them altogether. 43% of Michigan’s field goal attempts were from long range, that is a lot but that is the way this team is going to play. There are two guys that are threats from inside the arc and they both got plenty of touches this game (maybe not Harris in the first half). This team is going to be lackluster when three point shots aren’t falling, that should have been clear last year. This team is what it is and while it’s not pretty right now, they certainly have the ability to play much better.
The Utah game looms large on Wednesday night. The Utes aren’t a great team, they have lost to Idaho, Seattle, Oklahoma State, and Weber St but it is a true road game none the less.
- Manny Harris: Manny was almost invisible in the first half, he didn’t get a rebound and scored only 2 points on two free throws. The second half was a different story as he finished with 18 points and 6 rebounds.
- DeShawn Sims: This was one of DeShawn’s best games of the year, he notched a double double with 19 points and 10 boards and was far more assertive than he has been for most of the year.
- Stu Douglass: Confidence is a fragile thing and right now the shots aren’t falling for Stu. 1 of 7 from three point range is just brutal. He’s been through slumps before and he’ll just have to work through this one. The good news is that he had 4 assists and no turnover.
- Zack Novak: 7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, an assist and a block is a pretty typical Novak stat line, however the 0-4 from three point range stands out.
- Darius Morris: You can clearly see all of the reasons that he is going to be a very good player but at this point he’s still developing, which is understandable for a point guard in his 7th collegiate game. This was a good chance for Darius to get a lot of minutes and continue to get his feet wet.
- Laval Lucas-Perry: LLP hit two big threes early and came out fired up but two quick fouls put him on the bench. He promptly picked up his third foul about 30 seconds into the second half.
- Zack Gibson: 12 minutes, 6 points (3-5), 1 rebound and a block. Gibson continues to play well in limited playing time, giving Michigan a boost when Peedi goes to the bench.
- Anthony Wright: Missed shots from all over the floor. Three pointers, layups, and mid-range jump shots. Not his best game but I think he deserves a free pass.
- Matt Vogrich: The shot wasn’t falling today and Vogrich still isn’t ready defensively, especially in man-to-man which explains his limited playing time today.