Photo: Dustin Johnston / Full Photo Gallery
For five minutes, Iowa State looked to be every bit the offensive force that their early season numbers indicated. The Cyclones jumped out to an early 13-12 lead thanks to a trio of early three point shots. But Michigan’s defense responded and controlled the game from that point onward. Iowa State would score just 12 points in the final 13 minutes of the first half as Michigan’s offense picked up steam and ended the half on a 22-12 run. Michigan stretched its lead in the second half to as high as 22 points. A late Iowa State run narrowed the final deficit but Michigan cruised with a 76-66 win.
Barring the last five minutes, Michigan’s offense was extremely efficient on the day. Despite late struggles, the Wolverine offense hummed along at a 1.10 point per possession clip for the game. As has been the case when the Michigan offense works this season, baskets came easy inside the three point line. Michigan made 20 of 27 (74%!) two point attempts on the day but actually attempted more threes (7 of 29 for 24%). Every Michigan player made over half of his twos and the only player to miss more than one shot inside the arc was Jordan Morgan, who was 7 of 10 on the day.
Michigan’s defense was successful because Iowa State couldn’t make shots. The Cyclones were made 45% of their twos and 22% of their threes – 40% effective field goal percentage – and those numbers were glorified by a late run with the game out of hand. Royce White got his – 22 points (10/15), 13 rebounds and three assists – but Michigan did an above average job defending Iowa State’s three point shooters. After knocking down three early triples, the Cyclones made just one three pointer in the next 30 minutes and finished the game 6 of 27 from three point range. Michigan held its own on the defensive glass for 35 minutes but gave up some critical late offensive rebounds which allowed Iowa State to creep back into the game late.
Michigan’s performance was what should be expected against a mid-level major conference opponent at home. Michigan weathered a small run early, took control of the game by half time and expanded their lead to start the second half. No starter was perfect, but they didn’t have to be. Burke, Hardaway and Morgan were effective offensively and Eso Akunne and Blake McLimans each added five points off the bench, the sort of boost that you expect in a home performance.
I’ve skirted around the last five minutes of the game when Michigan let an 18 point lead dwindle all the way down to just six points. Turnovers, bad decisions, missed shots and subpar defense led to the stretch but it was clear that the Wolverines checked out of the game. That bad habit could cost a game later in the season but it’s always better to learn that lesson in a game like this than an actual loss.
From here Michigan has a week off, it’s longest period of rest since the season began, to prepare for Greg Kampe and the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. The Grizzlies enter the game on a five game winning streak including a home win over Tennessee.
- Tim Hardaway Jr.: Hardaway didn’t shoot the ball well from three point range but he did just about everything else. He finished the day with 19 points on 6 of 12 (2-7 3pt) shooting with six rebounds, three assists and a steal. He’s learning how to pick his spots and he’s by far the best cutter on the Michigan roster – an ability that’s magnified by his size and athleticism finishing around the hoop.
- Trey Burke: Burke had a terrific first half and really shot the ball well from three point range (11 first half points on 4-7, 3-5 3pt shooting) but the second half was a bit of a struggle as he was 1 of 7 (0-6 3pt) in the second half with three turnovers in the second 20 minutes. Still, Burke has established himself as the catalyst of the Michigan offense and great things continue to happen when he pushes the ball.
- Zack Novak: Novak never got involved in the Michigan offense with six of his eight points coming on late free throws but he was very active on the glass grabbing 11 rebounds (9 defensive) and handing out a pair of assists. He only shot the ball four times so it’s not as if he was hurting the Michigan offense and he continues to impress with his mid-range pull-up ability.
- Evan Smotrycz: It’s so hard to get a grasp on everything (good and bad) that Smotrycz brings to the table. He handed out three assists before the first media timeout this afternoon, grabbed seven rebounds and scored eight points – all inside the arc or at the line. On the other hand he fouled out again, turned the ball over twice, went 0 for 3 on triples and limited himself to just 22 minutes. He’s clearly improved over a season ago but what’s most encouraging – or sometimes frustrating – is that his skill set will allow him to reach another level if he can perform consistently and stay out of foul trouble.
- Jordan Morgan: Morgan had a couple easy buckets early and then a couple defensive breakdowns and missed bunnies. He played just nine minutes in the first half and clearly approached the game with a purpose in the second. He was five for five in the second half and finished the game with 16 points on 10 shots. What’s most impressive is that he scored the ball in a few more ways than we’ve been accustomed to: he hit a 15 foot jumpshot, made a baby hook shot after a pump fake, scored on a nice layup under the basket and just looked more confident with the ball in his hands.
- Stu Douglass: Douglass only attempted three field goals, missing both threes and making a tough contested two point jump shot, but it was his two assists early in the game (both to Morgan) that really sparked a Michigan run. He also took a nice charge when defending a 2-on-1 break. His 16 minutes played were the fewest he’s played since last year’s season opener.
- Jon Horford: Beilein announced after the game that Horford has been playing with an injured foot so the staff is attempting to limit his minutes. He played 10 today, grabbing three rebounds and a nice block but his only offensive opportunity ended up in a turnover after he bobbled a pick-and-roll pass from Burke.
- Blake McLimans: McLimans started the game with a “here we go again” sequence of plays, turning it over on a pick and roll and then getting beat by Royce White for an easy layup. He followed that stretch up with his best play in a Michigan uniform, scoring on a nice drop off pass from Tim Hardaway Jr., holding his own defensively and then hitting a big three pointer with 20 seconds left in the first half. McLimans is 2 for 2 on threes after making just 1 of 19 three point attempts last year.
- Eso Akunne: Eso is shooting it with confidence right now. In Maui he hit a wide open three in transition, against Iowa State he got a dribble hand off of a screen and came up firing when the Iowa State defender went under the pick. This was early in the shot clock and the confidence with which he took the shot was impressive. Akunne continues to play well and you could make an argument that he’s going to continue to earn minutes.
- Matt Vogrich: Vogrich’s struggles from three point range continued as he went 0 for 2 in 12 minutes. There’s really not that much to say other than he’s going to have to shoot his way out of his slump.