Photo Credit: AP/AnnArbor.com/DetNews
As expected, this game was no walk in the park for Michigan. Harvard provided the Wolverines with just about everything challenge that they could handle but luckily Michigan had just enough answers.
It looked like Michigan might win this game comfortably as they opened up a 17-10 lead over the first 10 minutes. Harvard answered with a 12-0 run of their own and the Crimson finished the half with a 32-25 lead. It took Michigan 6 minutes to tie the game in the second half, and the Wolverines would only trail for two of the remaining 14 minutes.
Stu Douglass takes the player of the game prize easily. He started the second half and simply caught fire. He was hitting shots from all over the court, on back doors, and even had a nice pass on the fast break. Douglass finished the game with 19 points and is now shooting 48% from three point range for the season. Several of Michigan’s shooters have been inconsistent early on but Douglass appears to have improved his consistency thus far.
Offensively, Michigan continuously shot themselves in the foot by turning the ball over. They coughed it up on 30% of their first half possessions which was the prime reason Harvard went to the break with a lead. The turnover problems were a little better in the second half, 5 turnovers rather than 9, but the biggest difference was that Michigan shot the ball significantly better. Michigan posted an effective field goal percentage of 69% in the second half after posting just a 44% mark in the second half. Michigan didn’t manage to get to the line often, and when they did the results were dismal (5-10 FT).
Defensively, Michigan did just enough as they held Harvard to a very average 1.00 point per possession. Harvard hit some big shots but seemed to cool down from three point range in the second half (39% vs. 31%). Michigan wasn’t able to force many turnovers but the Wolverines did do a good job of controlling the defensive glass, rebounding 73% of Harvard’s misses. Keith Wright was a load for Michigan to handle but they forced him into just enough uncomfortable situations which resulted in five turnovers.
Michigan won’t wait to jump back into action, as they face Concordia College on Monday. The Cardinals are 5-4 in NAIA play this year and naturally won’t pose much of a threat. The only good news about that game is that it won’t count against Michigan’s RPI. Player bullets after the jump.
Photo Credit: AnnArbor.com
- Darius Morris: He’s not without his flaws, but he is easily the most important player in a Michigan jersey. When Morris is playing well, Michigan’s offense works. Today he had 13 points on 6 of 10 (0-2 3pt) shooting with 5 assists, five rebounds, and four turnovers. The turnovers, mostly a product of trying to do too much, are a problem but they are a fixable problem. He can look for his offense, and has done a great job finishing around the paint, but he’s doing a great job finding teammates and probably should have had more than 5 assists.
- Stu Douglass: Douglass won this game for Michigan. After scoring just three points in the first half, Douglass poured in 16 in the second half on 6 of 8 shooting. For the game he was 7 of 10 (5-7 3pt) – an eFG% of 95% — for 19 points. Most impressive might be how he took the ball to the hole a little more and hit several shots that he created himself.
- Zack Novak: 12 points and 11 defensive rebounds for Novak, who didn’t have his best offensive game but managed to knock down a couple big treys. His most impressive play on the offensive end was a drive all the way to the bucket in the final four minutes. Zack played a lot of the four position due to Harvard going with a perimeter heavy offense.
- Matt Vogrich: Vogrich still has a ways to go but I thought Michigan did a good job of utilizing him. They got him three point attempts off of set plays and he knocked them down. He did miss what should have been an easy backdoor layup.
- Jordan Morgan: Morgan had a very tough time guarding Harvard big man Keith Wright. He didn’t have the length to bother Wright’s shot attempts and didn’t have to muscle to hold his ground. Wright is a very good player, but Morgan needs to be a bigger presence on the defensive end. Five offensive rebounds are huge, and he did a good job scoring once he got the rebound, but one defensive rebound in 25 minutes leaves something to be desired.
- Tim Hardaway Jr.: Hardaway is struggling, his last four shooting performances are: 3-12, 1-8, 3-8, and 1-7. He settles for three point shots a little too often but also tends to pick up charging fouls when he drives. He’s going through a rough time but the next few weeks should be a good portion of the schedule to try to build his confidence.
- Blake McLimans: This was McLimans best game of his young career. He had a couple buckets, including a nice tip in, but I was most impressed with the defense he played against Keith Wright in the second half. Those were important minutes and Blake did a terrific job.
- Evan Smotrycz: After his best game of the year versus Clemson, Smotrycz had his worst versus Harvard. He didn’t have his shooting touch (0-5) and struggled on both ends. Smotrycz played just 3 minutes in the second half, and really struggled when Michigan tried to play him at the five versus Keith Wright.
- Colton Christian: Just four minutes with 2 fouls and a turnover. The offensive foul was kind of cheap but Christian didn’t influence the game in many other ways.
- Jon Horford: Did not play but he was out getting shots up after the game.