Game 6: Michigan vs. Charlotte Recap

Dylan Burkhardt
on
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Charlotte 63, Michigan 61. Beilein video & quotes. Player video and quotes. Box score.

Everything went wrong from the opening tip off for Michigan in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic Championship. The Wolverines had a horrific shooting performance, struggled on defense and were forced to play without Glenn Robinson III (back injury) and with a limited Nik Stauskas (ankle injury).

After starting out on the wrong foot, things never quite got better for Michigan. The Wolverines made some plays down the stretch but Charlotte always had the answer. Whether it was a defensive breakdown, blown box out or bricked three-pointer, Michigan could just never string together enough plays or stops to go home from Puerto Rico undefeated.

Seconds after a beautifully executed baseline out of bounds play led to a wide open layup for Mitch McGary, the 49ers drove the length of the floor for a layup attempt and followed it up for the game winning tip in off the glass. Charlotte was the tougher team and the team that made one more play down the stretch.

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It was Michigan’s worst shooting performance since March 10th, 2012 in a 22 point loss at Ohio State. The Wolverines mustered just .86 points per possession and shot 37% on twos and 22% on threes. Although the dreadful three-point shooting made it seem as if Michigan’s offense was decidedly perimeter oriented, the Wolverines attempted just 37% of their shots from outside the arc, had a free throw rate of 39% and rebounded just short of a third of their misses. Michigan’s threes were pretty good shots, they just didn’t go in.

At 71 possessions, the game might have been a little too fast for the Wolverines. Michigan might need to take a step back and slow things down to find some offensive chemistry. Charlotte is a team that wants to play fast, it’s tough to say what Michigan is or isn’t at this point – and that’s part of the problem.

Michigan crumbled on the defensive glass in the second half. The Wolverines were dominant on the glass in the first half and horrendous in the second. Charlotte scored 11 of its 28 second half points on second chances, including the game winning basket.

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There are reasons for the poor rebounding. The Wolverines were forced to play for long stretches with Zak Irvin as the primary four man, for one. However, one of the biggest pitfalls of the Wolverine defense was the inability to stop dribble penetration on the high ball screen. Charlotte consistently got into the middle of the paint and Michigan’s help defense would slide in too late. The help would take the big man away from the basket and leaving the backside wide open. Willie Clayton grabbed eight offensive rebounds in the second half and Michigan had no answer.

Michigan went to the two-big lineup quite a bit out of necessity – both because of Robinson’s injury and the fact that Charlotte dominated the offensive glass in the second half.  The Wolverine defense was solid with two bigs but the offense suffered as a result. Players that played the four or five spots on the night were a combined 7-of-48. Irvin’s struggles were obvious, McGary played an inefficient offensive game, Morgan struggled and Robinson was hurt. Michigan is going to need production from the frontcourt and just didn’t get it today.

Overall, Michigan’s defensive performance wasn’t that bad. The Wolverines only gave up .89 points per possession and defended first-chance field goals pretty well. (Charlotte shot 38% on twos but 46% on a few timely threes. ) This game was lost because Michigan couldn’t score. And that hasn’t been a problem for Michigan for a long time. Is the offense doomed? Not at all. There are pieces there but they just aren’t on the same page quite yet.

There’s no sugar coating this loss for Michigan. Two November losses with Arizona, Duke and Stanford still on the schedule is dangerous. This is a young team that will get better, but these early losses still count. Michigan has a lot to fix and while there’s still time to make fixes, the clock is ticking.

Player Bullets:

  • Nik Stauskas: Stauskas made a number of big plays in the early going but the ankle injury, and Charlotte’s defense, bothered him in the second half as he only scored four points. It’s clear that Michigan needs Stauskas to even run, he played 38 minutes on the night, and just ran out of gas down the stretch. Stauskas was clearly in a lot of pain on the court and judging by a picture of the sprain, it looked pretty rough. His health (and Robinson’s) will be something to monitor heading toward the Duke game.
  • Mitch McGary: McGary had a rough night. He finished with 6 points (2-5 shooting), 9 rebounds (1 off.), three turnovers and four steals. He looked out of control offensively and really forced things a bit too much. For all the trust he gained offensively against Florida State, he probably gave some back tonight. Defensively, he’s struggling rotating to help on penetration and against ball screens. He continues to get caught in no man’s land where he steps up to help but doesn’t affect the shot, leaving his man open for the offensive rebound on the backside. Michigan’s defensive woes extend beyond that but it was a killer down to the last play.
  • Caris LeVert: In hindsight, the two early fouls on LeVert might have been Michigan’s biggest problem. Should Caris have checked back in during the first half? Probably, especially with Robinson’s injury and Irvin’s struggles. LeVert is committing just 2 fouls per 40 minutes and hasn’t been much of a risk in that department. He had a great close to the game and scored 11 points and handed out an assist in 20 minutes in the second half. He missed some threes, but offensively he gave Michigan a lot of production other than a sloppy turnover on the first possession.
  • Jordan Morgan: Morgan gave Michigan some huge plays but some of his demons are still haunting him. First with the good. He drew a charge, forced a jumpball on Albrecht’s missed free throw which gave Michigan a chance, and grabbed nine rebounds in 13 minutes. The bad side? He was 1-of-5 from the field and missed a number of chippies right around the basket.
  • Glenn Robinson III: Robinson only played nine minutes until he was sidelined with a back injury after taking a hard foul on a fast break layup. He was 0-of-3 from the floor with a steal and missed some box outs early in the second half which led to his removal from game. Beilein said after the game that it was clear that he wasn’t 100% at that point. Not many details were given on Robinson’s injury other than that it was his back.
  • Zak Irvin: There’s not a lot to say about Irvin’s poor shooting. He finished 3-of-14 (2-7 3pt) while playing a career high 26 minutes. Irvin blew some assignments on defense, blew some box outs and had a rough game overall. His late three had redemption potential but it was pretty clear he wasn’t ready to play 25+ minutes at this level – especially at the four spot. Beilein specifically praised Irvin for continuing to shoot after the loss and his ability to get his shot is as advertised but his confidence is in a rut.
  • Derrick Walton: Walton played his worst game as a Wolverine. He attempted just one shot, turned the ball over three times and didn’t have a single assist. Walton also struggled defensively as he got caught in Charlotte screens quite a bit.
  • Spike Albrecht: Michigan needed Albrecht on the court because Walton was struggling to run the offense. He finished with 6 points on 2-of-7 shooting, four assists and two turnovers. He wasn’t the answer defensively either as Charlotte’s guards out-quicked and out-powered him quite a few times.
  • Jon Horford: Horford attempted two jumpers from the short corner and missed both. He played 13 minutes and finished with 2 points, an assist and two blocks. Horford is probably Michigan’s best shot blocker and could be part of an answer to defending the rim better.
  • Kam

    Let me ask this.. If glenn just wasn’t “100%” then why couldn’t he play? Nik was NO WHERE near 100%. He was a decoy in the 2nd half. He didn’t shoot and didn’t drive. We know NiK would of tried to do something if he could. He could barley move. Why Couldn’t glenn play the 4 over irvin? Glenn at 70% may better than Irvin now at the 4. Heck why didn’t we try Mitch and jon? 6’10 and 6’10 might have helped.

    • Daoofgeek

      It really depends on how bad the back injury was and if it was spasms, that’s a lot easier to play with than on a sprained ankle (and that’s no picnic either).

    • Chris De Sana

      For some reason Coach does not feel that Mitch can play the 4, note when JMo in the game with Mitch he plays the 4. Maybe because they do not want him picking up cheap fouls away from the basket????

      • Mitch plays the four offensively when he’s on the floor with another big.

        • Chris De Sana

          Thanks good point.

          • But I don’t think it necessarily works. It pulls Mitch away from the hoop, where he can score 5-10ppg on put backs. It forces him to try to do some stuff he’s not really comfortable with: driving, 3PA last night. It’s especially tough when he hasn’t practiced much.

          • Chris De Sana

            More good points but I do think they could run some high/low post action for Mitch with 2 BIGS as he has shown the ability to knock down the 10/12 footer with regularity. And if he gets doubled he can either dump it down to the other BIG or kick it out for an open 3.

          • I also like the idea of high low action but remember they’ve had about 3 practices with Mitch. Not a lot of time to install that stuff.

          • mattD

            Dylan I would normally agree with this, but the coaching staff has completely failed to implement Mitch in the offense, and even that may be an understatement.

        • geoffclarke

          How about 2015 recruit Henry Ellenson who is about Mitch’s size and I think could realistically play the 4 on offense? I know that doesn’t help us this year or next, but I just watched a few highlight videos this morning. He needs to work on the jumping machine, but other than that, looks pretty good.

    • mikey_mac

      GR3 was probably incapable of muscling down low on the boards, which would make him a big liability. Nik was also a liability after he got hurt, so I don’t understand why the solution is to give more minutes to ineffective injured players.

      • Kam

        thats why i said they should have gone 2 bigs

  • Kam

    Also, what about this for a starting lineup(a stretch i know) Spike, caris, Nik, glenn and mitch. Here is why i say stretch, have Caris be the main ball handler(his ability to attack the hoop is evident and he has good vision) keep Nik on a wing(so he is able to receive a hand off and attack himself or hit the 3) have spike in the corner(better shooter than Caris). Glenn along the baseline and that corner getting back cuts and lobs. Mitch setting the pick and rolls for whoever has the ball between Caris and Nik and having him either roll to the hoop or fade to the elbow for a 15 foot jumper. I have noticed Caris and Nik in the pick in roll is pretty successful. They may not be as effective as trey but they bring a lot to the table. They are big and athletic and can finish and find people. When walton is in its almost like since he is the PG he always has to have the ball in his hand, yet he really cant get to the hoop like them so we end up just dribbling around the top of the key.. Put in spike make him like the spot on shooter in the corner because with walton, caris gets the wing when he is much better served attacking the hoop. Just my opinion I’m no coach haha

    • Kam

      Oh and i have nothing against walton. they only reason i put spike over walton for this was because spike is the obvious better shooter. So id want him in the corner over walton

    • guestavoe

      I agree but I’d rather camp Walton out in the corner instead of Spike, due to his defense on the other end.

    • Picknroll21

      I like your starting line up,The whole team plays better with Spike in.
      There is a thing called “team chemistry” and it seems as if the team has
      it with Albrecht in. I would like to see if your lineup actually
      started a game if UM would jump out to lead and keep it. In the second
      half against Charlotte , Spike comes in at the 14:41 mark with Mich
      down 10, With 9:27 left they had cut the lead to 1. In the 2nd half of Florida State game , Albrecht comes in with 11:21 , UM down by 11, at the 9:03 mark they had cut the lead to 4, with McGary, Stauskus, Albrecht, Robinson and Irvin on the floor.

      • guestavoe

        The team does not play better with Spike in…

  • Wayman Britt

    Not concern about the poor shooting, but I am concerned about the poor defense. Our guards could not stay if front of anybody down the stretch. These type of games you just need to gut out a win with defense and hustle.

    • Chezaroo

      Couldn’t agree more about the inability of our guards to stay in front of theirs. This has been a reoccurring theme so far and even with the new rules seems to be a constant liability. Still wonder why JB did not go to the zone more, especially after the way it completely befuddled FSU, and spurred a comeback. Perhaps he did not like his lineup with the injury situation. Even so, I think it is inevitable we will have to resort more to it in the future.

  • Chris De Sana

    As bad as this game was, and it was bad.
    – Horrible on ball defense
    – Got out hustled and probably out coached
    – Got beat up in the paint on both ends of the court
    – Never settled into Michigan’s desired pace of play no matter if Walton or Spike were at the point.
    – Possible lingering injuries to 2 starters
    My take away in regards to Irvin was far different than pretty much everyone elses. The kid has more upside than does GR3…. just take a look at how he was able to get to an open spot on the floor either at the elbow, corner or otherwise. GR3 simply is not as assertive offensively. And to say that GR3 is better defensively or on the boards I do not see it, he struggles on both.

    And in regards to the 2 BIG lineup, as I have said before I think we need to look at Horford playing more minutes at the 5 and Mitch getting more minutes at the 4. I thought this was the plan when both Mitch and GR3 came back this year? I know the injury to Mitch early in the season may have put that on hold but I have little doubt that both BIGS in the game with GR3 at the 3 and Nik and Caris do the majority of the ball handling will lead to over all better play and results. This would also allow for more minutes for JMo as he gives either a blow now and then and it also means fewer minutes of running essentially a 4 guard offense.

    All in all things will get better in the long run but I have a feeling there are going to be more rough patches ahead lets just hope they mix in a few upsets along the way starting with Duke and/or Arizona.

    • mattD

      Agree with pretty much everything. Althoug I think Irvin has some work to do in terms of ballhandling/footwork before he can realize his true potential.

      • Chris De Sana

        Agree he has a lot of work but he showed he has huge upside in finding the soft spot in defenses, now just knock them down young fella .

    • section13row15

      I agree with the lineup thing. Beilein may have to bring Caris off the bench as a non-starting “starter” so to speak because we are getting outmuscled on the boards, and need a scorer off the bench. Also, we need to run some offense through gr3 to get him going. We will need him to score a lot more against tougher opponents. Also, 5 shots is not enough for our best player (McGary). Need to penetrate and get the ball to him underneath.

      • Chris De Sana

        Everything you are talking about is the downside of redshirting Donnal. Based on his recruiting tapes he would be that guy who can hit the pick and pop jumper and due to his length would not struggle to get it off. Think Wisconsin big men.

        As for GR3 I do not think he has a great understanding of offense, just look at how easy it was for Irvin to find the soft spots. He missed the shots of course but most of those shots were pretty darn good and many of them inside the arc.

      • guestavoe

        No way Caris comes off the bench. He is our second best scorer and our best shot creator for others in the offense.

        • Chris De Sana

          He should start at the point and have both Walton and Spike come off the bench.

  • Paul Anderberg

    As painful as this game was to watch, it was nowhere near as agonizing as the last time we lost to Charlotte.

    Why didn’t we try to work the ball inside more often? Perhaps making a few layups – seeing the ball actually going through the hoop – would have helped our woeful outside shooting. Since Beilein was forced to use the 2 big lineup a lot, this strategy could have worked. The idea of continuing to shoot jumpers with the thought that surely they’ll start to fall seemed a bit shortsighted – it happens A LOT that teams that usually shoot well go cold and stay cold.

    One last question: why was there an off day in the middle of this little tournament?

    • Chris De Sana

      If you look back on the game Mitch did get have a fair amount of attempts early in the paint and missed the bunnies, Hordford missed a couple of those 8 footers along the baseline and of course JMo did not finish well either. All said I would have preferred more dribble drive and getting to the line as it would have produce points from the line and slowed the game.

  • Fab 5 Legends

    Tough Loss, its still early, GR3 injury did hurt, – Irvin/Walton will continue through growing pains – hopefully by BigTen season they will be more consistent,,,
    Stauskas continues to impress…Mitch just had a bad game, he will be fine…come BigTen season we will be looking good

  • ChathaM

    That was a very difficult game to watch. Between the looseness with the ball (both teams), all of the missed open shots (us), and all of the missed layups (Charlotte), that was the textbook good, bad game. I’m not sure this makes sense, but it seemed like both teams were very tired. I don’t think fatigue necessarily played a role in who won the game, but wow, that was ugly. The stats would say that both teams were solid defensively, but in this case, the stats are misleading. We got great looks all day, and couldn’t make anything. Charlotte got layup after layup, and couldn’t make anything.

    Players refusing ballscreens has become an effective offensive weapon, and that’s how Charlotte scored the winner. Caris started to cheat a bit towards the ballscreen once he knew it was there, and that was all the Charlotte guard needed to zip past him to create the winning shot. Beilein talked about how difficult it is to keep a player going at “full speed” in front of you in a late game situation, but that’s simply not what happened. That was a set play, and read, for the Charlotte guard, who was going at significantly less than full speed, and he read Caris perfectly. Caris got caught cheating the screen just a little bit. I think Stauskas did the same to a FSU defender on Friday, and it got him a layup.

    I agree 100% with Dakich re: officiating. He didn’t use these exact words, but sometimes this season, it’s seemed like officials have gotten away from the advantage/disadvantage principle when calling fouls. Sometimes (and this definitely happened yesterday in the first half), contact that had no impact whatsoever on the play was being whistled. You could see the frustration on the floor. Nobody wants the game called that way.

    As a takeaway from this tourney, I love Beilein’s angle of it being a great experience. It is, and the team will be better for it (as long as Robinson’s injury isn’t serious). Right now, this team is no better than Charlotte, FSU, or any number of other teams in the country. But, with the offensive weapons we have (at least compared to Charlotte and FSU), we have more room for growth. It’s going to take time to find the right combinations on the floor, and for Walton and Irvin (and Caris, to an extent) to get used to the pace of the college game. I don’t expect things to truly click until partway through the Big Ten season. We have to be patient.

    • geoffclarke

      Disclaimer: I know we played poorly and there’s a lot of room for improvement, but…

      Regarding the officiating: what made it even more frustrating was that while the refs were calling a bit of contact that had no impact on the game, I think they missed several times when a Charlotte offensive player would literally push a Michigan player to create space, often time pushing a Michigan player before curling around an off-ball screen, or arm-barring in the post, or giving a little “scooch” to our guy into an on-ball screen then refusing it. I know they called a decent number of Charlotte offensive fouls, but I feel that they missed more…it happened on almost every play. No excuses, we should have won regardless, but it was annoying and made it less fun to watch.

      • mikey_mac

        Clayton’s number one skill as an offensive rebounder is pushing guys in the back.

    • Agree with you on the final play. What Beilein explained didn’t really seem to be the case at all.

  • Adam St Patrick

    I think the game was lost on defense and the boards, and not on offense. Shots not falling is not an excuse if you D up right and control the glass. You create opportunities from that until the shots start falling. I think those two things should always be the first option. If Michigan had stopped trying to shoot jumpers earlier it would have won. But if it’s not gong to be that way — if it insists that making jumpers is the preferred path to victory, instead of attacking the basket — then at least have a Plan B when they aren’t falling and do that before you’ve deflated yourself and given the other team the confidence it needs to pull the upset.

    I’d like to see some coaching decisions made with the defense in mind. Like yanking Spike if he can’t be successfully hidden on D. Still early. It’s November. But I’d hate to see Beilein in February, once again, bemoaning a lack of toughness like he did last year @ MSU. Gotta instill that beforehand.

    • ChathaM

      I get your point re: jumpers vs. attacking the basket. But, the Charlotte defence gave us jumpers all night, especially in the first half. It wasn’t as though we were missing contested jumpers. Most of the shots were open, several coming without even a hand in the face. Good shooters have to take those shots.

      It was tough watching Spike get abused on defence at times yesterday. I wondered why Walton barely played in the 2nd half, as he is the clearly superior defender. It made me think there was something else going on with Walton yesterday, but I haven’t heard anything about that.

      • Adam St Patrick

        That could definitely explain it, because at that point Spike was definitely not bringing enough on offense to compensate for being the achilees heel on defense.

        I agree that shooters need to shoot. Preferable if they pair it with a hustle/defense identity as well, so that when the shots aren’t falling they are comfortable and familiar with gutting out an ugly one. Too often it’s been the other team out there hustling like that. We’ve definitely seen signs of progress, last year as the season went on and even in this game. But when you lose that close, and the color guy calls you out for being outhustled (even if it’s Dakich), I think the analysis starts and ends with effort. The response to this game shouldn’t be to get in the gym and shoot more jumpers, but to hustle harder.

        • ChathaM

          I would have no problem with that being the takeaway message.

    • jemblue

      Charlotte scored 63 points in a 71 possession game. That’s not really a sign of poor defense. We obviously had some breakdowns late in the game, though.

      • Adam St Patrick

        Repeatedly. And when we knew what was going to happen. You don’t need signs at that point. You just see that it’s bad defense.

  • Chris De Sana

    Just wondering………… if this is going to be a season of dramatic ups and downs would it be worth getting Donnal on the floor? He does ad one element that we do not have and that is the ability to hit the pick and pop jumper Wisconsin style. Also would it be worth exploring that option using Nik and GR3 as it appears GR3 has a nice 12/15 jumper and Nik is doing a great job of attacking the rim if given to him.

    • Adam St Patrick

      I would have thought so too. Maybe Donnal just isn’t ready.

  • guestavoe

    Anybody know the usage stats of Caris, Nik, Spike and Walton individually?

    • geoffclarke

      I can calculate them at some point if no one responds before then. Before the FSU game, I think Nik and Caris were at about 23%

      • guestavoe

        Would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • geoffclarke

      LeVert: 18.23%
      Stauskas: 23.92%
      Albrecht: 16.59%
      Walton: 22.28%

      I used assists in my calculation too, which I prefer.

      • guestavoe

        Thank you.

  • Chris De Sana

    Anyone else watching Larry Nance Jr taking it to OSU?