Five Key Plays: Michigan vs. Ohio


1. Ohio’s 11-0 run in the first half extends lead from two to 13

Although it felt like Ohio dominated for the majority of the first half on Friday, this was a tie ballgame over 11 minutes in. With 6:10 to go in the half, Michigan trailed by just two points. Ohio seemed to be controlling the pace of the game, but the Wolverines continued to hang around and most figured that it was just a matter of time until Michigan took over. Then, with 5:40 to go, Walter Offutt hit a tough jumper in the paint to give the Bobcats a four-point lead. From there, Ohio caught fire, going on an 11-0 run to turn a two-point lead into a 13-point lead with just over four minutes to go. Following Offutt’s bucket, Jordan Morgan turned the ball over and just seconds later, Nick Kellogg made him pay for it with a 3-pointer, forcing John Beilein to burn a timeout to try to stop the bleeding. Not long after, with the ball in the right corner, D.J Cooper rose up for a three and was fouled by Zack Novak. Cooper hit all three freebies to make it a 10-point game. After more offensive gaffes by Michigan, including a Tim Hardaway Jr. turnover, Nick Kellogg hit a deep ball to extend the lead to 13 with 2:49. Suddenly, Michigan could do nothing right offensively and couldn’t get any stops on the defensive end, and the Wolverines were in danger of losing control of this one before the halftime buzzer even sounded.

2. Michigan ends the first half on 7-0 run

Michigan was in desperate need of a run heading into the break in order to gain some momentum back. Bridgestone Arena was beginning to feel like Ohio’s home court, with all fans other than Michigan fans rooting for the underdog. Finally, the Wolverines gave the Michigan fans in attendance a little something to cheer about, ending the half on a 7-0 run.  Like most runs do, this one started with defense. Burke reached in and ripped DJ Cooper before sprinting down the open court for a smooth two handed dunk. On Ohio’s following possession, Michigan forced another turnover, this time with disciplined post defense by Jordan Morgan forcing Reggie Keely to throw the ball out of bounds. On the other end, Hardaway lined up a three and buried it.  Following a missed layup by Morgan, Evan Smotrycz had two chances at a tip and finally willed the ball into the basket to cut the deficit to six. Michigan had a chance to trim the deficit even more with the final possession of the half but couldn’t further take advantage, as Burke was off the mark on a three and Morgan couldn’t convert the put back. Still, the Wolverines went in the locker room with something to feel good about on the heels of a 7-0 run.

3. Trey Burke’s 12 straight points keep Michigan in it

With under nine minutes to go in the game, Trey Burke had been nearly non-existent offensively. He had just four points and was 2-for-8 from the field, including 0-for-3 from behind the arc. Still, Burke has been one of Michigan’s most consistent and clutch players this season, and it seemed as though it would just be a matter of time until Burke got it going. With Michigan down nine with 8:51 to go and once again in danger of allowing this one to get out of hand, Burke single-handedly brought the Wolverines back into the game, scoring 12straight Wolverine points. Burke’s scoring outburst was typical of what the freshman has shown all season. He attacked the rim while finishing or getting fouled and also knocked down a pair of three pointers. Burke had led Michigan back many times this season and with 4:12 to play and Michigan trailing by just three points.

4. Wolverines go ice cold down the stretch

With the exception of two free throws late, Michigan held Ohio scoreless for the final 4:12 of the game. Given the fact that the Wolverines were down three at the start of that time span, most would assume that Michigan came away with the win. All the Wolverines needed would be a three or a couple field goals in the final four minutes to tie it or take the lead. But while the Michigan was stellar defensively down the stretch, offensively, they couldn’t get anything to drop. Whatever the cause, it was painful to watch.

Out of a timeout, Burke finds Evan Smotrycz, who had 15 points and seven rebounds, rolling to the basket for what appears to be an easy opportunity. Smotrycz’s layup attempt was blocked and came up short. Burke missed a three from his favorite spot on the floor, the top of the key. Then Burke drove and kicked to Novak in his favorite spot on the floor, the corner in front of Michigan’s bench, he missed. Burke forces a turnover and gets Michigan the ball back but the Wolverine offense stagnated and Burke was left to fire up another isolation three from the top of the key. He does a tremendous job of creating space for the step back but, once again, he missed his favorite shot on the floor.

5. Smotrycz’s turnover with 7 seconds to go ends it

Michigan had a seemingly endless number of opportunities and here are a few more. Michigan’s first option on offense is Stu Douglass popping out at the top of the key but Ohio defends it perfectly. That forces Michigan to reset the offense and burn precious seconds before Burke fires up another three from the top of the key. The result was no better but Michigan was awarded the ball out of bounds on the rebound. Another opportunity. Michigan went with its base offense of sort and that resulted with Evan Smotrycz getting the ball on the wing. He put the ball on the floor a couple times and simply lost control of the handle as the ball bounced out of bounds. Michigan was forced to foul Walter Offutt who hit the two free throws necessary to put the game, and Michigan’s season, to bed.

  • Scott

    5 key plays are the 5 or more missed layups

  • Wayman Britt

    Beilein’s Spring To Do List

    Tweek your offense to use more big man low post
    scoring.  If you want to go deep in the
    tourney, must have low post scoring. 
    History has proven a 3 point reliant team won’t consistently win big
    tough games against national top rated teams.

    Don’t let Trey Burke play on any national teams
    this summer.  He needs to continue to
    work on his game individually, fitness and on fundamentals over the
    summer.  He needs a break from playing organized
    basketball games.

    Name Burke next year’s captain.  Even though he is only a sophomore, he is a
    leader, has moxie and this is his team now.

    Have a courageous conversation with McLimans and
    Christian.  Tell them they are welcome to
    stay on the team, but will never see game action with the talent coming
    in.  If they want to play basketball,
    smaller schools would love to have them.

    Have a conference with Hardaway Sr and Tim Jr
    and make sure all three of you are on the same page.  Tim has tremendous talent he needs everyone
    pulling in the same direcdtion to help
    with his mental game.

    • Miguel

      Easy there.  I think the writing is on the wall with McLimans and Christian.  There will be no 5th year for McLimans, but I don’t believe John Beilein will ever encourage a player to leave the team unless by the player’s own choosing. 

      I don’t think there is any credible source saying Tim and his dad are at odds.  Tim Sr. is a basketball professional and when he is interviewed by the media, he gives his professional opinion.  It is documented that he and Tim Jr. had some rocky times with regards to basketball while growing up.  My opinion is that Tim is in a funk mentally and needs to emerge as a more confident player, by whatever means possible.  Also he also needs to work on his ball handling.  Also he really needs to use his athleticism and length on the defensive end.  I thought he improved some throughout the season, but has a lot more potential.

      Hopefully this summer he takes care of all that stuff.  And has some fun too.

      I’m curious as to what exactly you think Trey needs to work on.  He did, at times, look for his own shot a little too much in my opinion.  Aside from that I thought all the tools were there.  He did look maybe a bit burned out.

      • Joel_C

         I think if there’s one thing Burke can work on, it’s court vision. His ability to drive to the hoop is outstanding and his jump shot has looked good, but his vision and passing ability aren’t quite up to the bar Morris set last year – besides chucking 1-handed passes way too hard, leading to a turnover, Burke’s better at not doing that. But I’ve seen him miss Morgan on many pick n’ rolls, or the open man on fast breaks, etc.

    • Umgoblue525

      Good points, but not sure what McLimans and Christian leaving at this point would accomplish.  They know the system, can help teach the others coming in, plus provide scout role players.

  • AG

    Ugh, 4 Ohio teams in the sweet sixteen.  Worst NCAA Tournament ever.