Game 22: Iowa at Michigan Recap

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Photo Credit: MGoBlue

Post Game: Beilein Presser Notes / Player Videos

It was perhaps the most enjoyable Michigan game to watch all year. It featured everything from 60-foot assists, follow up dunks, a barrage of three pointers, and even a rare triple double. Darius Morris was the catalyst, notching a triple double, but he had plenty of help. Morris’ support cast shot the ball extremely well and allowed him to do what he does best: distribute the ball.

All five Michigan starters scored in double figures and Novak, Hardaway, Smotrycz, and Morgan combined for a 76% effective field goal percentage on 23 of 38 (12-22 3pt) shooting. Morris’ triple double was just the third in Michigan history and the first one against a Big Ten foe.

Michigan’s offense was nearly perfect. The Wolverines consistently made the extra pass necessary to turn good looks into a great looks. The game was a statistical marvel as the Wolverines scored 1.36 points per possession with an effective field goal percentage of 71.4% –68% on twos and 50% on threes. Michigan attempted half of its field goals from three point range but when you make 14 of 28, it’s tough to complain about the ratio. Michigan turned it over on just 16% of its possessions and rebounded 30% of its misses. The only negative offensively could be the 8 free throw attempts. Michigan did a great job of controlling the tempo of the game, slowing the game to 64 possessions and the Wolverines outscored Iowa 7-0 on fast break scoring.

Despite playing almost perfect offensive basketball, Michigan’s defense left something to be desired. Iowa, statistically the worst offense in Big Ten play before this game, scored 1.14 points per possession for the game and got numerous easy looks at the basket. Some of this production came after Michigan’s lead ballooned to 20+ points but that wasn’t the only time Michigan’s defense struggled. Iowa turned the ball over on just 16% of its possessions and posted a respectable effective field goal percentage of 53.5%. Michigan rebounded a more reasonable 69% of Iowa’s missed shots but allowed Iowa to attempt 17 free throws. Melsahn Basabe was nearly unstoppable, scoring 25 points on 9 of 11 shooting with 8 rebounds (4 off.).

This was a very good performance and an enjoyable game. Early on it looked like Michigan might let Iowa steal one but Michigan went into the locker room at halftime and figured things out. The first and last four minutes of each half are where games are won and lost and Michigan won the first four minutes of the second. Clinging to a three point lead at the break, Michigan was able to stretch this lead to 10 in just 85 seconds of game clock – they never looked back.

Next up, a trip to Columbus to face the last undefeated team in the country. Michigan gave Ohio State everything that it could handle in Ann Arbor but fell just short. That’s encouraging but several other teams have almost beat the Buckeyes as well, and time and again Ohio State’s size, experience, and shooting ability seems to win out.

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Photo Credit: MGoBlue

Player Bullets:

  • Darius Morris: It’s tough to argue with a triple double: 12 point (5-9 shooting)s, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds with two steals and three turnovers. Morris really struggled before the Michigan State game but clearly has his swagger back. Today he was connecting on three quarter court passes, behind the back kick outs, pick and rolls with Morgan, everything.
  • Jordan Morgan:  Morgan made 8 of 9 field goals and they were all within 5 feet of the hoop. Five of those were assisted (4 Morris, 1 Novak) and two came off of offensive rebounds. So in many ways Morgan still isn’t creating his own offense, but this proves how productive and opportunistic he can be when he’s not limited by foul trouble.
  • Evan Smotrycz: It’s crazy how much better a player can look once he hits a couple shots. Today Evan started out hot from three (finished 4 of 5 from deep) and then expanded his game with a couple nice moves taking the ball to the hole and even a couple nice passes. 14 points, two assists, and a rebound in 19 minutes. His pump fake to behind the back dribble with the finger roll lay-in was a thing of beauty.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.: He’s a high volume shooter (14 FGAs today) but when the shots are falling it’s a lot easier to live with. Hardaway was 7 of 14 (5-10 3pt) for 19 points today and he produced from distance off kick outs but he was also aggressive in transition.
  • Zack Novak: 13 points on 3 of 9 (3-7 3pt) shooting with 3 assists wasn’t quite as star studded of a performance as Novak supplied in East Lansing but it was an all around solid game. Novak is the rock of this team and whether he’s at the two or the four Michigan needs him on the floor.
  • Stu Douglass: Stu was the only Michigan player to really have a bad shooting night, 1 of 4 (0-3 3pt) but he did add 5 defensive rebounds, three assists, and two turnovers. Stu didn’t really look for his offense much, and at least one of his three point attempts was a terrible decision, but five defensive rebounds in 28 minutes is great work from a two guard.
  • Matt Vogrich: Vogrich buried both of his three point looks and one of them was deep. There weren’t a lot of minutes available with Hardaway playing so well but two threes and a steal in 11 minutes is more than enough production from Vogrich off the bench.
  • Jon Horford: Similar to Vogrich, Horford provided about as much as you could ask off the bench: 11 minutes, 4 points (2-3),4 rebounds, an assist, and a block. Horford had a monster dunk after a Morris layup attempt went awry and he also had a nice finish off of a pick and roll with Morris.
  • Dylan Burkhardt

    Manny Harris giving Darius some props on twitter.

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    • gpsimms

      nice. some idiot on mgoblog was talking about how darius was “calling people out” on twitter and was displaying bad attitude after the state game. i think in all his interviews he comes off as a respectful, nice kid and I am pretty sure that his “calling out” on twitter was more a sign of respect for great players who came before him.

      anyway, it’s good to see manny keeping an eye on the program and cheering for the guys.

    • Trevor

      I watched some of the Cavs/Magic game tonight, and Manny also had one of his stronger games as a pro. The jump shot and the left hand are coming along, and it’s great to see him getting big minutes. Just hope he doesn’t get too used to losing every game.

  • Bluebufoon

    I don’t know anything about what Darius Morris tweeted but Morris body language since Christmas, specifically when Coach Beilein or today when Coach Meyer was talking to him in the second half, scares me to death. For the life of me I don’t understand why Morris always has a scowl on his face or refuses to look at coaches when they talk to him ?

    Hopefully I’m making a mountain out of a mole-hill but Morris disposition leads to me to believe DM will leave the U-M program prematurely. Is anyone else seeing what I’m seeing ?

    • grandchamp

      lol come on with this garbage bro. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, it doesn’t mean that he’s not happy or wants to transfer.

      • the_white_tiger

        Exactly, people read way too much into how Manny acted when he was here (and the fact that he left does not necessarily mean that he didn’t get along with Beilein, or whatever), and people are really looking way too much into how Darius Morris looks during the game. Body language? Seriously?

    • Sam

      To put it bluntly, no. I don’t know what you are seeing, but every player gets frustrated once in a while. DMo is one of the nicer guys that I have talked to on the team, loves his teammates and coaches, and really loves Michigan. Players just have different dispositions on the court, I think you are looking into it WAY WAY WAY too much.

    • UMHoops Fan

      Jeez loueez. If Morris elevates his game — improves jumper, left-hand, defense –maybe he’ll leave for the NBA after his junior year. Otherwise, no.

    • gpsimms

      i imagine you are one of the dudes who said that manny and beilein hated each other. I don’t know why people love talking about that crap so much “oh this player gives beilein a funny look–they hate each other!”

      listen to his interviews, it’s pretty clear how he feels about his team and his coaches.

    • lavell99

      Wow. Speechless about this comment.

    • JimC

      I understand Bluebuffoon’s worry, but would be shocked if Darius departed the program. In some of the recent losses, and especially when JB would discipline Darius with benching, I got worried that he would get frustrated with the coaching. But good team output, and especially wins, cure a lot of ills.
      It’s just typical in college hoops – you get a great player and you have to start worrying about when he’s going to leave!

      But Darius being one of only 3 Wolverines (+Gary Grant & Manny) with a triple double, as a SOPHOMORE…..WOW I look for more great things to come!

      • JimC

        p.s. hardly any players look their coach in the face, because 1) the coach is about 6″ away, and 2) they’re usually screaming at them.
        So that’s pretty common.

  • Dylan Burkhardt

    if you still haven’t seen the Michigan State game.

    • JimC

      THANK YOU THANK YOU DYLAN!!
      I watched the 1st half, but couldn’t watch the 2nd because I “knew” the standard 2nd-half collapse was coming. ESPN3 had it but the quality was crap.

  • Greyblue

    Dylan, when you said this was an enjoyable game you hit the nail on the head. These last two wins constitute a nice reversal of fortunes for both coach and team.

    Unfortunately, the next one is at Value City against the BNuts, and it will take all M’s skill and luck to prevail. I didn’t think they could beat MSU, and they did, but OSU at home is a much greater challenge. It would be sweet to derail them, but it might be a foul affair.

  • Kevine

    Speaking of player interactions, what was the deal with Stu and THJ after their botched fast break? Looked like THJ wanted the ally oop but Stu didn’t toss it up. I thought I remember hearing somewhere that Beilein isn’t a huge ally oop fan, but I could be imagining it. Anybody see this?

    • JimC

      Yes! (But I thought it was Novak with the ball who passed up a streaking THJ)
      I doubt that JB EVER practices alley oops (?) but they must practice fast breaks right?
      Anyway, that was a perfect alley oop chance.

  • MAS

    JB stance on the ally oop is simple if you do it, you better make it.

  • AG2

    D-Mo’s twitter dedicated his the MSU win to all the Michigan Men who came before, ain’t nothing wrong with that.

    He was frustrated a lot, but it doesn’t sound to me like a kid who took the opportunity to apologize to his teammates in a players-only meeting for his performance is looking to transfer. He also said he tries to keep a poker face on the court because if he looks frustrated, the freshmen who look up to him might get frustrated, too.

    Now, Dion Waiters at Syracuse is one you have to worry about. Apparently he told Jim Boeheim to “f- off” during their blowout home loss to Seton Hall.

  • gobluetwo

    Missed Sportscenterplays this morning. Did Darius’s ridiculous assist through the outstretched arms of 4 hawkeyes make Top 10 plays? I rewound that and watched it several times, a couple times in slo-mo. Ridiculous.

  • maxwell’s demon

    Offensive performance was obviously incredible. And while the overall defensive performance wasn’t, we came out at the start of the second half extending the pressure and playing harder on D and I think that’s definitely a factor in what allowed us to build the big lead. From there we coasted.

  • michigan fan

    I don’t see any attitude problem with Morris. He’s a kid, and if doesn’t look exactly in the coach’s eyes, that’s not a big deal to me. I actually like that he has a scowl on his face. I think he is our best overall player on the team and dread to think where we would be without him.

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