Michigan opened with another mediocre first half against subpar competition and found themselves down 3 points at the break. Luckily they tightened the screws on defense in the second half and pulled away thanks to stellar play from Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims.
This was a game of two halves and swung thanks to some stellar defense (feels like the first time I’ve said that this year). In the first half, Michigan played a significant amount of 1-3-1 and got torn apart by Detroit. The Titans made Michigan’s defense look foolish, shooting an eFG% of 60.3% and rebounding 46% of their misses.
The second half was a different story. Michigan played much more man-to-man and held the Titans to an eFG% of only 36.2% and allowed them to rebound only 26.3% of their misses. It was one of the best defensive halves of the season for Michigan and they not only defended but rebounded.
Michigan’s offense was effective to a point. Manny and Peedi carried most of the offensive burden, combining for 18 of Michigan’s 25 made field goals as well as 10 assists. The rest of Michigan’s offense combined to make 7 out of 21 shots (33% shooting) for 21 points. So obviously, Michigan is looking for a little bit more from their supporting cast.
Detroit was obviously not a great team, they have some talent but have also got blown out by California and lost to Tennessee State last week. Michigan let them hang around with another lackluster first half but the second half defensive performance was the type of performance that they could build on.
Of course they will have to because next up is a trip Kansas. The Jayhawks are very very good, the best in the country by most.
- DeShawn Sims: This is the DeShawn Sims that Michigan needs every night. He shot the lights out, rebounded, and even made some nice passes: 23 points (10-12, 3-3 3pt), 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals. I thought Peedi was focused throughout and battled against the bigger Eli Holman. I have complained about Peedi taking too many threes before but right now he’s shooting 37.5%, good for second best on the team. As in his best performances he played inside-out rather than starting on the perimeter, I was most impressed with his season high 10 defensive boards.
- Manny Harris: Is this a typical Manny Harris game? 27 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists looks very impressive but Manny’s averages aren’t much lower at 22 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. Manny’s three point stroke is slowly coming back, he’s shot 9-16 (56%) over the last three games from behind the arc. My one complaint is still that there are probably 5 or 6 possessions per game where Manny tends to free lance a bit and get caught out of position on defense.
- Stu Douglass: Like every guard, Stu is struggling to find his shot but Michigan needs him on the floor. He knows the offense and we just have to pray that he snaps out of his funk.
- Laval Lucas-Perry: Laval really gave Michigan a spark with a three point make as well as a couple nice drives to the basket. Laval showed some emotion and made some big plays, with Morris and Vogrich struggling to adapt, Michigan needs Laval to step up.
- Zack Novak: I don’t know that Zack was all the way recovered from his flu. He played 34 minutes but it certainly wasn’t his best performance. His two points didn’t come until very late in the game and he only notched four rebounds. I also think that his block late in the second half made up for him getting dunked on in the first.
- Zack Gibson: Brutal performance from Gibson. His two turnovers at the top of the key were painful and ever since I wrote an article that praised him, he has stopped making shots. I apologize.
- Darius Morris: After his first shift, Darius barely got off the bench. He looked tentative on both offense and defense. He turned the ball over twice in 11 minutes but the play that stands out was him giving up a transition layup far too easily.
- Eso Akunne: At this point I think I would be in favor of slowly giving Eso more and more minutes. He is a freshman walk-on so it’s tough to expect that much but he works hard and could be a real nice piece down the road.