Five Key Plays: Purdue

Here’s a breakdown of five important, game-changing or otherwise interesting plays and sequences from Michigan’s 80-57 loss to Purdue at Crisler Arena.

1) Stu Douglass’s 8-2 run in the first half

At the 11-minute mark in the first half, Michigan appeared dead in the water. The Wolverines were down 19-3. They couldn’t get anything going offensively. Purdue was making everything. Then, Stu Douglass put on the cape and went on his own 8-2 run, scoring on a long two and then two 3-pointers. The first shot came very early in the possession, with Stu creating a little bit of space for himself in order to make room to get off a mid-range shot. On the next possession, Darius Morris made a nice play, finding Stu in the corner after drawing defenders on his drive. On the last 3-pointer, Stu simply caught Purdue before the Boilermakers could get set on defense and made them pay. If Stu can get comfortable creating space for himself, he could emerge as a major weapon, especially with his markedly improved shooting from beyond the arc. Stu’s run pushed Michigan into double-digits and was the catalyst for the Wolverines’ big first-half comeback.

2) Evan Smotrycz hits two 3’s later in the first half

On these plays Smotrycz picks up right where Stu left off in the first half. Evan contributed six major points to Michigan’s first-half run to get the Wolverines back in the game. His first 3-pointer, with almost seven minutes left, almost immediately followed Stu’s latest 3. Stu, showing a lot of confidence with the ball in his hands at this point, drove the lane, drew defenders and kicked out to an open Smotrycz, who nailed the shot. Great find by Stu and a nice shot from Evan. Almost two minutes later, Stu drives to the hoop again and finds Matt Vogrich at the top of the key, who quickly gets the ball to Evan, who knocks down his second 3-pointer of the night. That possession showed nice ball movement by Michigan, though Stu drove to the basket a bit haphazardly. By the time Evan’s second triple fell through the net, Michigan had turned a 19-3 deficit into a two-point game.

3) Purdue’s run to end the first half after Michigan takes the lead

Michigan had great difficulty in the final minutes of the first half last season. Today, those ugly problems reared their head yet again. Just as Michigan grabbed a 1 point lead after an emotional comeback, they let a chunk of their hard work, and momentum slip away in the final minute. It started with a silly foul by Jon Horford (which the BTN cameras missed) and was followed up by some awful offensive possessions that ended with Darius throwing up out of control shots in the lane. It could have been even worse, as Michigan took a shot with 15 seconds on the clock rather than wait for the last shot. Purdue obviously outplayed Michigan by a significant margin in the second half, but this stretch might have been the most costly.

4) Purdue’s 20-7 run midway through the second half

Until this run, Michigan was very much in the game. The Wolverines were down just five and had just scored on a layup by Jordan Morgan. The game seemed like it could go either way, and Purdue made sure it went its way. It all started with a 3-pointer from E’Twaun Moore, who was given just a little too much room by Tim Hardaway Jr. Another open 3-pointer and a mid-range jumper later and Purdue was off to the races. These three plays signify the beginning of Purdue claiming the game.

5) Second-half 3-pointers by Ryne Smith

Smith kind of killed Michigan all game long (he finished with 17 points) but these two 3-pointers in the second half were absolute daggers and a great example of how Michigan’s defense consistently left Smith open on the perimeter. Not only that, but they were both pretty wide-open, especially considering he was the one guy on Purdue’s team you didn’t want to leave open on the perimeter. Smith’s first triple kicked off Purdue’s 8-0 run to start the second half. Lewis Jackson got by Hardaway and Zack Novak helped, leaving Smith, his man, wide open in the corner. The second 3-pointer came at the 7:54 mark, right when Michigan was desperately hanging onto a single-digit deficit. Smith’s triple made it 60-49 and Michigan never recovered. Michigan was playing zone on this play, and there appeared to be some confusion between Hardaway and Jordan Morgan on who would cover the corner, and Smith was left wide open for the long-range shot.

  • Champswest

    Smotrecz had a good shooting night making 66%, however, he only had 3 shots. Almost all of his shots are from the outside. He needs to get more from in the paint, but it seems that he is seldom there. He is averaging only 2.4 rebounds per game which ranks 7th on the team. Seems like he should rank higher since he is 6’9″ and is our starting 4.

    • Jeff

      I’d have to say at this point in his career, Smotrycz is a good shooter, but nothing else. Kind of crazy that he rarely pulls down a rebound at his height. Hopefully, he’ll improve on some of his deficiencies. I know that freshman are sometimes thinking so much out there that they can’t play their best basketball.

  • mgocanada

    Wow, that was some inept zone play in video 5.

  • Alex

    Another youthful team (Iowa) having trouble defending a tier one team (Illinois). The Illini shot 10-12 on threes in this first half. They lead 49-37 at the half but Iowa scored a buzzer beater two. Hoping Michigan adjusts to playing defense in the Big Ten.

  • Dylan Burkhardt

    Beilein and Bacari are watching Sherron Dorsey-Walker tonight. We have someone there and will have a full report to go along with video footage.

    • Sam

      Lavall Jordan was in Grand Rapids to watch (I assume) 2014 Grand Rapids Christian prospect Drake Harris, a 6’2 SG, against East Kentwood. I was in the house to watch Harris on both Monday when Christian took down Forest Hills Northern and then tonight when they defeated East Kentwood in the Championship matchup.

      Here is a brief scouting report of some things I saw. Before I start, however, you should keep in mind that 2014 means he is a freshman. You should all know by now that we can’t expect too much of freshmen on the college level, and the same goes for high school, probably even more so. This kid was in 8th grade last year, meaning he is probably about 15 years old and still growing into his body. As a side note, Christian won both games. I didn’t keep detailed stats, mostly only points and rebounds.

      On Monday night, Harris struggled a little bit in the early going, recording three points in the first half. He got it going a little more in the second half, finishing the game with 11 points, with five coming on free throws. He also recorded only one rebound. Harris’s biggest strength is his ability to drive to the basket, but he struggles finishing once he gets there. He got fouled about three times on drives, but missed a few shots around the rim, often throwing up wild ones in hopes that they would somehow fall, but they usually missed the rim. He has a long ways to go on his outside shot as well. His form is not bad at all, perhaps a little bit slow, but the rotation leaves much to be desired. It reminded me a lot of how Darius Morris’s three point shot looked at the beginning of last season – a little sideways and very little rotation, almost like a knuckle ball. Monday night Harris took maybe one or two jumpers, missing all of them. He seems like he is still getting to know the offense and his teammates. He made a couple nice passes, including a pass from just beyond half court to a wide open man for a three, but beyond that was fairly quiet. Defensively Harris did not stand out, often seen adjusting his arm sleeve or jersey while his man didn’t have the ball, but he didn’t appear to be a liability either. His free throw stroke is solid, going 5-6, but still lacks good rotation.

      Tonight Harris played a little more within himself but was even quieter than on Monday. He recorded only two points in the first half and four in the second, going 2-3 from the FT stripe. He started out fast on the boards, grabbing three rebounds in the first quarter, but didn’t notch another one the rest of the game. He also showed some more freshman jitters, turning the ball over four times on my count. His shot selection was much better tonight, but perhaps that was only because of his four or five total shots. His only bucket in the first half came on a rebound that came right to him and a quick put-back. At halftime, Michigan assistant Lavall Jordan stepped in to watch, but there wasn’t much to be seen. Harris did make one nice drive to the lane and finished with a little 5-foot floater, but other than that, he didn’t do a whole lot. The one wide open three he took from the corner hit the side of the backboard. He took no other outside shots.

      In summary, Harris displays very good ballhandling and a good ability to get to the rim, but struggles in other aspects of his game. He lacks finishing ability right now and really needs to improve on his outside shot. He also was very quiet on the boards, but that is to be expected from an off-guard. He plays very relaxed with little emotion, often seeming uninterested on defense, but not making any glaring mistakes or flashy good plays on defense. Harris also seems to run with his man on defense rather than shuffling his feet to stay in front of him.

      Harris apparently already has an offer from Indiana and is garnering heavy interest from Michigan and Michigan State, among others, but obviously has a long ways to go before he reaches his potential. Over the course of the tournament he averaged 8.5 points and 2 rebounds and was not named to the All-Tournament team.

  • Drew

    Man, for as pleasantly surprised as I’ve been about Horford’s play, I have been every bit as upset about McLimans. He is shooting 7% from 3 point range…Hopefully he can sure things up on the offensive end because anytime you have a 6’10 body you are going to want to utilize that length.

    • JimC

      I was watching the game, wondering “when is McClimans going in?” and then he never saw the floor right? Geez what does that say about JB’s confidence in him. We had zero answer for Jujuan J’s offense. We need a defensive stopper guy or two.

      • Dylan Burkhardt

        McLimans had the flu. Not sure he would have played, but I’m not sure he was available either.

  • Colby

    Any chance we look at Donnavan Kirk who just got released from Miami?

  • Alex

    I know everybody says this every year but Iowa is going to be a tough team to beat. They are really playing with a lot of heart. They just can’t hit free throws. Also, Dmitri Mccamey is amazing.

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