On the heels of its worst offensive performance of the year, and playing without its best offensive player, Michigan’s offense bounced back in a 42 point win over Coppin State on Friday.
The Wolverines scored 87 points on 59 possessions in their most efficient offensive performance of the John Beilein era. Scoring 1.47 points per possession, Michigan got offensive production from nearly every player that stepped on the floor as 11 different Wolverines found the score sheet. Zak Irvin led the way with 24 points on six three-point makes while Caris LeVert (15 points) and Glenn Robinson III (14 points) also reached double figures.
The win was pivotal to get the Wolverines headed back in the right direction after a frustrating loss to Charlotte and heading into their most difficult game of the non-conference season at Duke on Tuesday night.
We’ll look closer at the offensive and defensive numbers but Michigan dominated the rebounding battle on both ends of the floor. The Wolverines rebounded 55% of their missed shots, scoring 22 second chance points, and allowed Coppin State to rebound just 16% of its missed shots for only two second chance points. The domination on the glass set the done from the opening jump.
This was the most efficient offensive game that Michigan has played under John Beilein (topping a 1.46 PPP against Minnesota in 2010) and the offensive performance was driven by great shooting in all phases. The Wolverines made 10-of-29 threes, 22-of-33 twos and 13-of-14 free throws. Michigan got 39 points off the bench and 19 of its 32 makes were assisted in a thorough offensive performance.
Coppin State managed just .76 points per possession offensively, but its problems were very different in each half. In the first half, Michigan struggled to defend the interior – allowing CSU to shoot 67% on twos – but the Eagles turned the ball over on 30% of their offensive possessions and attempted just one free throw. If you read the game preview you would remember that the strengths of the CSU offense were getting to the line and protecting the basketball. In the second half, Michigan did a better job of contesting shots. Coppin State shot just 35% on twos, didn’t make a three and Michigan blocked five of 25 second half shot attempts. The foul discipline and turnovers from the first half evaporated in the second but Coppin State just couldn’t make a shot and Michigan rolled thanks to its stellar defensive rebounding.
There’s little difference between a 20 point and a 40 point in the grand scheme of things but Michigan needed a game like this to regain some confidence. It was few times this season that Michigan was able to dominate a game for 40 minutes on both ends of the floor. If the Wolverines want to stand a chance at Cameron Indoor on Tuesday, they’ll have to do that again.
- Zak Irvin: A few days after everything went wrong in San Juan, everything was clicking for Irvin from his first catch tonight. Irvin nailed his first three and finished 6-of-10 from long range, equaling his made three total of the first six games. Once the threes started falling, the rest of Irvin’s game fell into place: he hit a long two, finished a nice baseline cut, triggered a fast break off a defensive rebound, grabbed an offensive board and handed out three assists. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle of Irvin’s last two performances but U-M needs him to develop into a legitimate scorer off the bench and this is a big step in the right direction.
- Mitch McGary: McGary finished with 6 points, 8 rebounds (3 off.), 5 FGAs, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 2 turnovers and a steal in his first start (26 minutes). He needs to be more involved in the Michigan offense but I also thought he played a pretty flat game. He missed two bunnies and had a couple of ill-advised turnovers (like a spin move baseline drive and two handed overhead pass into the first row). He caught the ball in the post twice: 1) a baseline spin away from the double team with a missed reverse layup 2) a kick out over the double team to Irvin for a wide open (missed) three. His rebounding was as impressive as you’d expect – grabbing a missed free throw and putting it back with his off hand – but it’s clear that Michigan is still ironing out how to use him most effectively offensively. Against the CSU zone, I would have liked to see McGary cut a little harder (as Morgan did early on) to get the ball in the middle but he seemed content to kind of drift.
- Derrick Walton: Walton’s numbers surprised me when I looked at the box score after the game: 7 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 turnovers in 30 minutes. He missed his first three shots of the game but settled down after he hit one near the end of the first half. He got caught a few times over penetrating and failing to finish at the rim and his jumper still feels rushed but when he settles down and lets the game come to him he’s capable of making plays.
- Caris LeVert: LeVert’s jumper looked way off (0-3 3pt) but he did a good job of attacking the basket and let Michigan in minutes with Stauskas sidelined. LeVert was 5-of-8 on twos, 5-of-5 on FTs, grabbed four rebounds, two assists and a steal while totaling 15 points. Coppin State didn’t have any sort of rim protection ability which allowed LeVert’s hesitation, penetration and pull-up game to flourish.
- Glenn Robinson III: Robinson started the game with two offensive rebounds and played a solid game overall. He had four strong defensive rebounds and finished with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting in 27 minutes. He was a bit three happy (2-of-6) but had a patented back door alley oop as well. He’ll have one of the bigger challenges of his career defensively coming up at Duke against Jabari Parker and it was good to see him healthy and playing.
- Jordan Morgan: Morgan grabbed five offensive rebounds and finished with 6 points on 3-of-5 shooting. He was very active early in the game and gave Michigan tough solid minutes, he didn’t look too bad chasing little guys on the perimeter defensive either. Morgan has strung together a couple big performances and his experience defensively could help some early season transition.
- Spike Albrecht: Albrecht had four assists and two rebounds in 12 minutes but was 0-of-3 from long distance. Michigan really needs him to be a knock-down shooter but the offense does run well while he’s on the floor. The defensive issues are still there, evident by three fouls in 12 minutes of action.
- Jon Horford: Horford caught open passes at the rim (2-of-2 with 2 FTs), he rebounded and blocked three shots in 11 minutes. He lost his starting position but is still one of Michigan’s best rim protectors with his length.
- Andrew Dakich, Sean Lonergan, Brad Anlauf and Cole McConnell: It was great to see Michigan’s walk-ons get quality minutes and produce. McConnell buried a three, Anlauf hit a jumper, Dakich had two assists and Lonergan made two free throws.
- Nik Stauskas: Stauskas didn’t play due to his ankle sprain against Charlotte. He’ll need to practice before playing at Duke. He tweeted “no worries, my ankle will be okay” after the game.