A look back at Jordan Morgan’s top moments at Michigan

Dylan Burkhardt

Jordan Morgan will play his final game at the Crisler Center on Saturday. Leading up to Sayurday game against Indiana, we’ll run a series of features on Morgan’s career. Today we start with a look back at five of the top moments of the 6-foot-8 big man’s career.

1. Charge and dunk seal Final Four win over Syracuse

Jordan Morgan’s rollercoaster ride through the last two months of Michigan’s 2012-13 season had to be agonizing. Morgan went down with an ankle injury in late January and never quite returned to form. He missed the would-be Big Ten Championship winning tip in against Indiana and then watched most of the NCAA tournament from the bench as Mitch McGary emerged into a superstar.

But Michigan needed Morgan against Syracuse in the Final Four and he answered the call. With the game on the line, Morgan took a charge and then sealed things with an emphatic dunk to send Michigan to the National Championship.

“Jordan Morgan was up on the chair leading us in the end,” Beilein said after the win. “He’s on the all-defensive team.  He was going to be in there at the end when we needed stops, especially when we were going into some switching patterns, things like that, much like he did in a similar slide later in the Kansas game. So really happy for him.  Fitting that he finishes it with a dunk at the end.”

2. Clutch plays boost 2014 Big Ten title push

Morgan is only averaging 6.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in Big Ten play as a senior, but he’s been critical to Michigan’s championship effort. That was never more apparent than down the stretch against Purdue and Minnesota.

First, Morgan got to 50-50 ball after 50-50 ball against Purdue before finally coming alive on the pick-and-roll in overtime.

Against Minnesota, Morgan was a force on the offensive glass down the stretch, securing the extra possessions that eventually sealed the game and a share of the Big Ten Championship.

“It was the intangibles that aren’t measured in this stat sheet right now,” Beilein said. “Jordan Morgan has 10 rebounds or something, but the 50-50 balls that he got, what Spike did, the charges Jordan took — while all those other things are coming out that you’ll see in the stat sheet, terrific job by guys just getting things done.”

3. Showdown with Jared Sullinger

Morgan saw his offensive numbers regress in the 2011-12 season after the graduation of Darius Morris, but he still played a critical role in Michigan’s Big Ten Championship winning team because of games like this.

Morgan racked up an 11 point, 11 rebound double-double while holding future-pro Jared Sullinger to 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting with three turnovers.

“He played like a man tonight,” Zack Novak said bluntly. “Everyone talks about (Ohio State forward) Jared Sullinger, and he’s a very, very good player.

“But I think Jordan Morgan was up for the challenge tonight.”

4. Clutch free throws at Iowa

In Morgan’s redshirt freshman season he shot just 56% at the free throw line. For his career, he’s also just a 56% free throw shooter. Michigan fans have watched Morgan play 134 games and they know that free throws are no guarantee when he steps to the stripe.

But with Michigan’s NCAA tournament hopes largely hanging in the balance, Morgan stepped to the free throw line and buried two free throws in Iowa City to send the game to overtime before Michigan escaped with a win.

These were some of the biggest free throws of his career and if he didn’t make them, the Wolverines might have been watching the NCAA tournament from home rather than routing Tennessee.

5. Career high 27 points against Northwestern

It was fitting that Morgan’s career-high came against Northwestern, because the Wildcats always seemed to nag Morgan just a bit. Two of Morgan’s four career technical fouls that I can remember came against the Wildcats (in 2013 at Northwestern and in 2012 at home) and he always seemed to have a bit of an edge.

He racked up 27 points on 11-of-13 shooting in a nine point Wolverine victory (box). Morgan got to 27 with the help of his teammates, specifically his roommate Darius Morris.  Morris’s ability to find Morgan rolling to the hoop on the high ball screen was majestic and Morgan finished time and again. But against the Wildcats, much of Morgan’s offense stemmed from his ability to run the floor.

  • Hail Blue

    Watching those FT’s and man, only 3 years ago, we were a bubble team and now we are fighting for a 2 seed with a 1.5 weeks left in the season.
    Also, to me, Morgan always makes both or misses both. Glad he made both that game.

  • gobluemd16

    Love JMo. Moment number 1 is awesome to see again and gave me the chills, especially since I was at the game. Then, I watched Trey’s three against Kansas and Spike’s 17 in the championship game and both evoked the same reaction.

  • Brandon

    This blog seems to get better and better. So hard to find past Michigan basketball videos (even recent ones) but you always come through here. Nicely done

  • Mattski

    Morgan–for me–even more than Stu and Zack–will always be the face of the Michigan renaissance. But all three were incredibly hard-working guys who left it all on the floor, really setting the tone for the players to come. I hope we never operate with the sense of (wounded) entitlement that has come to characterize MSU.

    Nice, on another note, to be reminded what fantastic passers Darius and Burke were.

  • JGiebz

    Glad you picked the free throws at Iowa. For some reason the memory had become at Minnesota in my head but every time I think of Morgan I think about those two CLUTCH free throws. He has definitely been a steadying force over the years.

  • ChocoJoe

    Number 4 has always stood out to me when I think of JMo’s best moments. Thanks for the post!

  • jakelam2116

    Great post. Will always remember Morgan for being such a key part of the foundation that has built up Michigan to one of the country’s best programs. An incredible team player who has developed into an invaluable leader. Not to mention, a true student-athlete (which you can say of most of Beilein’s players). One interesting thing — check out JMo on Twitter. Most of his posts aren’t even about basketball. He’s so well-balanced as a person, and I think that helps him during a long season. He has great perspective.

    Please tell me the back will be healed for Saturday.

  • jemblue

    Great compilation for a great Wolverine. I loved watching these again.

  • sshow

    Much respect to JMo. I wonder if there is any coaching in his future.

  • A2MIKE

    Great choices! I was at most of these games. I remember sitting courtside (only time ever) for the Northwestern game and telling my wife that JMo was going to be a multiple year all big ten player, and while that didn’t come true, I do think that JMo’s career has been a surprising success. He will always be remembered as the guy from Detroit that changed the culture. He truly saw it all, from the disappointment in 2010, to the turnaround in 2011, and the last 3 years of dominance with 2 Big Ten rings and a Final Four ring. Most successful senior in 25 years, that is saying something. Congrats to him, and here is to finishing his career on a high note. Go Blue!!!!!!

  • AADave

    Love JMo! I’ve rooted for him all 5 years especially when he had a rough patch last year and seemed to lose some confidence. He fought through adversity and surpassed expectations.

  • Sanidin

    This is my favorite Morgan (and Darius) moment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IfYu1UhaMU

    • Mattski

      There’s another flipping amazing pass from DMo to Morgan at the END of that video. . . wow.

      • jemblue

        Boy did Darius have great floor vision – wow is right.

  • Cory

    It’s absolutely amazing what coach has gotten out of Morgan over the last 4 years and what kind of key contributor he has become. He’s a fantastic representative of this program. I look forward to him getting his well deserved standing ovation on Saturday night.

  • rlcBlue

    This may be stealing the thunder for an upcoming post, but:

    Morgan is now tied with Novak and Rice for third all-time in games played. Assuming his tailbone cooperates, he’ll tie Vaught for second on Senior Day and tie Douglass for first in the BTT opener. So you’re looking at the future career leader in games played.

    Michigan’s record so far in Morgan’s games is 96-38; Rice’s teams went 104-32, but Glen missed one game in ’86 and one in ’88; Grant’s teams went 100-29; Vaught’s teams went 99-35, with Loy appearing in every game but teammate Mike Griffin missing three; Joubert’s teams went 98-30, but Antoine missed a game in ’85. King’s teams went 97-36, but Jimmy missed 3 games in ’94. I think those are the only contenders for career wins – correct me if I’m wrong. The leader board looks like this:

    Rice 102-104
    Grant 100
    Vaught 99
    Griffin 96-99
    Joubert 97-98
    King 94-97
    Morgan 96

    Jordan has between 3 (NO!) and 10 (YES! YES! YES!) games remaining in his career. It’s been a great run for the program, thanks in no small part to him.

  • Bigrange

    JM is Michigan Basketball. I love his work ethic, attitude and the way he comes to play every game. In this day and age when a player not getting the points they want or pt they want, moves on to another school, JM has kept working and playing hard. It’s nice to know that he will leave the program with 4 years of post season play and plenty of banners to go along with his time at Michigan.

  • Tricia

    Any word on how JMo is doing since his tailbone injury the other night? I’m not surprised he injured himself that way since he has always been willing to sacrifice his body to try to take charges to help the team. I love JMo and am so happy he stayed and had such a great year this year!

  • GregGoBlue

    Aside from JMo’s blue collar attitude and doing yeoman’s work for the wolverines in his five years in the program, perhaps my favorite aspect of Morgan’s game is his SWAGGG. He is tough, he will bang, and he will let you hear about it. On a team with such quiet personalities as Caris, GR3 and even Horford, Morgan provides a counterbalance with his fire and a Detroit never-back-down attitude. Who can forget him barking at Adrian Payne, Adam Woodbury, Jared Sullinger and numerous others? He goes to war every day, will miss him tremendously.

  • zeroskie3

    I love this team and I love JMo

  • section13row15

    Jordan Morgan puts his hard hat on every single game and does a ton of dirty work that goes completely unnoticed by most. But if you’re a big man who is constantly battling and trying to get position on bigger guys, its literally a tiresome war of attrition all game long. I’ve never once seen him complain about not getting touches even when he slipped a screen and was completely wide open (which happens quite a bit because he is in excellent position always). He’s ready to do his job every game and doesn’t care what his role is on the team but plays selflessly at all times. He’s not the most talented guy on the floor usually and he sometimes misses the occasional layup or mis handles the ball here and there but he will out work anyone and gives 100% effort at all times. I hope my son grows up to be just like Jordan Morgan. That’s the ultimate complement I can give to the young man.