Game 4: Michigan vs. Oregon Recap

Dylan Burkhardt
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Michigan 70, Oregon 63.  Video Reactions. Photo Gallery. Photo: Adam Glanzman

For this young Michigan team, freshman mistakes are a necessary evil.

Against Detroit on Monday, Michigan head coach John Beilein swept those mistakes under the rug by sitting his young players and riding his five experienced players down the stretch.

But the reality of the situation is that hiding the freshmen will never work, especially not when the schedule mandates playing two games within 24 hours. Freshmen are going to be key to this team’s success and have to start growing up on the job sooner than later.

Beilein threw caution to the wind on Monday, throwing his young players into the mix and seeing what came back. Eleven different Wolverines saw playing time in the first half and Michigan scored 19 points off the bench. The resulting performance featured plenty of freshman mistakes, but it was also a win and another step in the right direction.

On both an individual and team level, Michigan looked great for stretches and completely out of sync for others. There were plenty of freshman mistakes – poor positioning, missed blockouts, errant passes and weak finishes – but there were also encouraging steps of progress. The ups and downs led to a game where Michigan always felt in control, but never could pull away. The Wolverines extended the lead to eight points midway through the second half, but Oregon was always there to make enough plays to stay within arm’s reach.

Locked in a one possession game inside of four minutes, it was a freshman that finally sealed the deal. Ricky Doyle pulled down an offensive rebound with 43 seconds remaining and then managed to go up strong and complete the play. Doyle’s bucket extended Michigan’s lead to five points and cemented his best performance as a Wolverine.

Michigan’s experienced stars did most of the heavy lifting – Zak Irvin and Caris LeVert combined for 37 points – but at the end of the day it was a freshman that got Michigan over the hump in its best victory yet.

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Michigan’s offense didn’t play its best game, but it still managed 1.13 points per trip. The key for the Wolverines wasn’t three-point shooting as it so often is, instead it was the ability to get to the free throw line against an Oregon defense that just couldn’t stop fouling. The Wolverines managed a free throw rate of 63% and actually shot more free throws (24) than field goals (20) in the second half. Oregon was whistled for 24 fouls in 40 minutes, including 17 in the second half – or one per 71 seconds of second half game clock. Michigan was unfazed by Oregon’s token pressure, turning the ball over on just 13% of its possessions, and shot 49% on twos and 38% on threes for a 51.1 eFG%. Michigan’s pick-and-roll game faltered a bit due to Oregon switching every ball screen on the perimeter, but the Wolverines were eventually able to exploit those switches and just attack the rim.

For the first time this season, Michigan’s defensive rebounding was exposed – badly. John Beilein quipped that, “there’s not too many times you win a game giving up 18 offensive rebounds,” and he couldn’t be more right. The Wolverines escaped despite getting pounded on the offensive glass. Oregon rebounded 18 of its 40 missed shots and scored 17 second chance points. Dillon Brooks led the way with five offensive rebounds, but overall the Ducks just outworked Michigan for many second chances. Michigan’s five-men managed just one defensive rebound for the game, but there was plenty of rebounding blame to pass around on the roster. The poor defensive rebounding took away from what was otherwise a very good ‘first shot’ defensive performance from Michigan, who slowed down Oregon star Joseph Young. Young’s 20 points were deceiving as most were late free throws and he was just 5-of-16  from the floor with three assists to four turnovers.

There are still plenty of warts and flaws for Michigan to mend. The Wolverines are far from perfect, but it’s always preferable to grow from a win than a loss. With less than 24 hours of prep time for a game against a well-coached and experienced Villanova team, Michigan could be in for a big test. Caris LeVert (39 minutes) and Zak Irvin (38 minutes) were both afforded very little rest and the young Wolverines will have to prepare quickly in a short scout. Tip-off for Tuesday’s Legends Classic Championship is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. eastern on ESPN2.

Michigan vs. Oregon basketball game on Nov. 24, 2014 in Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Adam Glanzman

Player Bullets:

  • Caris LeVert: LeVert had a rough shooting game – 2-of-9 on twos, 1-of-4 on threes—and struggled to finish, but he was quickness was enough to get him to the line. He slashed his way to the paint all night and finished with a career 13 free throw attempts, which helped him to 18 points. LeVert’s had a couple of sub-par shooting games this season, but Michigan wasn’t doing much other than setting him up for an isolation drive and he was able to carry them home.
  • Ricky Doyle: Michigan has been waiting for someone to step up at the five position and Ricky Doyle responded with the best game of his career. Doyle finished with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting with three rebounds and a block. He was Michigan’s best big man on the day by a wide margin, earning 24 minutes off the bench. Doyle did just about everything: he finished a beautiful lob pass, took a charge, had a big block and was active around the rim.
  • Derrick Walton: Walton was hamstrung by foul trouble all game. Beilein pulled him briefly 52 seconds into the game after he committed an early foul and then again when he picked up his second with 8:19 to play. He did a good job of staying in the game in the second, managing to play 17 minutes, and he stayed aggressive. Overall it was a quiet night for the 6-foot guard who finished with six points on 1-of-3 shooting.
  • Zak Irvin: Irvin had several very impressive hard takes to the basket in the first half. He used the pump fake well and attacked poor closeouts with ease. While it felt like he disappeared for a long stretch of the second half, he still finished with 19 points on 6-of-11 (3-6 3pt) shooting with five rebounds and a steal. That’s a very impressive stat line, especially considering the clutch three he hit late to help Michigan pull away.
  • Kameron Chatman:  Chatman’s strengths and weaknesses are becoming very clear early on and he’s going to have to improve quickly or be picked apart by opposition scouting. Offensively, he has a great feel for the game and he was provided with the opportunity to create offense in the first half and he did a pretty good job with three assists. But he continues to struggle to finish at the basket – going to a underhand scoop layup instead of to the rim strong – and with his jumper from anywhere on the floor. Defensively he’s still trying to play catch-up and while he’s solid on the ball, he struggled against the physicality of Oregon’s frontcourt as well as in deadball situations.
  • Spike Albrecht: Albrecht ended up playing 34 minutes as Walton battled foul trouble and he did just about everything you could ask for. He made all of the Albrecht plays that we’ve come to expect: he drew a charge, finished a late clock baseline out of bounds play with a pump fake and mid-range pull-up, he took the ball coast-to-coast against Oregon’s pressure and he buried a deep three.
  • Aubrey Dawkins:  I thought Dawkins gave Michigan some quality minutes in the first half and he was rewarded with a nice drop-off pass dunk from Kameron Chatman. The one time he put the ball on the floor and tried to drive, he ended up throwing an errant pass into the third row.
  • Max Bielfeldt: Bielfeldt only played three minutes after featuring in Michigan’s last two games. He’s still a trusted option for Beilein off the bench – he was the first big man sub on Monday – but Doyle’s strong play won the day.
  • Mark Donnal: Donnal hit a smooth baseline jumper and finished with 4 points on 2-of-3 shooting, but he was just too tentative overall. He needs to continue to play more aggressively against physical frontcourts like Oregon’s, especially when he has a size advantage.
  • DJ Wilson: The game is running circles around Wilson still, but it’s pretty clear that the Wolverines could use his skill set. Wilson played just one minute and was whistled for a foul about 30 feet from the hoop.
  • DingoBlue

    I feel that #1 in the picture is about to break out into operatic vocals. “What’s this!? Doyle rules!”

  • JohnNavarreIsMyHero

    The rebounding needs to improve, but there was plenty of long rebounds on pretty garbage shots – we usually got to the ball and it either tipped off us out of bounds or somehow went out our reach. On those, that’s just bad luck and sometimes how the ball bounces.

  • GregGoBlue

    Correction: Doyle took TWO charges

  • Chezaroo

    We’re not gonna win to many games with Walton attempting 3 shots. His foul woes contributed greatly to the closeness of the game. We’re we ever behind at all? It’s a positive step that came with a win though. Doyle was super! But Offensive rebounding, UGH! 18 boards for a team with no player over 6’7″, wow.

    • Anthony

      Walton shot 41 percent from 3 last year and he is at 54 from 3 this year he is a good shooter so I don’t get how Walton shooting from deep would contribute to Michigan losing games.

      • Pretty sure he means 3 (count) shots overall.

      • tim

        Yes he agrees with you. He’s commenting on only having 3 attempts and that not being enough.

    • Anthony

      My apologies I misread the post

  • Amaizeman

    I love Doyle’s smirk in the photo at the top. He’s thinking “I really should outlet this pass… But no one’s guarding me … Boom 2 pts. ” Really fun game to watch, even though I had sketchy video streaming through my phone onto my tv.

  • Anthony

    Spike played well i would like to see him shoot more he passed up some open looks I would like to see him take. I think Doyle separated himself from any of the other big men. Chatman will contribute the game is moving pretty fast for him right now, but he will figure it out and will eliminate some of the mental mistakes.

  • FGCU Maize Rage

    Caris is the most frustrating player I’ve ever seen. He will settle for bad, long twos and then drive to the lane with ease and draw the and-1. He needs to be a slasher first, shooter second.

    I actually liked what I saw out of Dawkins in the few minutes he played. He moved pretty well without the ball on offense and has a quick first step. The pass he threw into the third row was a bonehead play but otherwise he looked good. And that dunk he had was kinda ferocious.

    • Nick

      Please understand that Levert is exhausted at times, playing essentially the whole game. He simply does not have the energy to drive the lane every possession.

      • FGCU Maize Rage

        He must be mentally exhausted too if he keeps chucking up long contested twos and 3s with 25 seconds on the shot clock.

        • Richmond_Eric

          I think Caris went one on one too much last night in the second half. The team needs to be patient early in the shot clock, work the ball, and shoot the open shots. It was stated above that Irvin disappeared for a stretch in the 2nd half. I think I saw that the team was not running its offense and therefore he was not getting touches in the correct spot. Perhaps with Walton being out for so much of the game, the offense never really got into its flow?

    • UMHoopsFan

      Well, I agree that Caris settles sometimes for questionable shots, especially too early in the clock, but he’s shooting 38% from 3, 84% from the line (and getting there over 6 times a game), with averages of 16 pts, 7 rbs, 5 asts (to only 1 TO), and 1.5 stls, all while getting accustomed to being the man. Having confidence is a good thing, and he’ll keep getting better. He’s a pretty fun player to watch most of the time, in my view, and I’m certainly glad he’s on our team.

  • jakerblue

    At least with the foul trouble Walton will be fresh for Nova.

  • Dr_ZC

    For me game ball goes to Doyle. He was draped by 3 Oregon players, and instead of passing it, he muscled it in. We used to seeing plays like this in the fab 5 era. Doyle decided in less than 3 sec, that he was stronger than them and in the worst case scenario he could be fouled. Donnal is a finesse player down low, and TJ needs to put a few more pounds to go strong to the rack. I think whenever there is war down low, Doyle needs to be in to create havoc.

    • MAZS

      Agree and disagree. Doyle most definitely first looked to kick the ball out. But there was no good option. What impressed me was his recognition of this and his pretty quick adjustment to go up strong with the ball.

      • Dr_ZC

        Here is the interesting part. If you look at the replay, he was surrounded by 3 players down low at that instance. Common sense would dictate that at least 2 Michigan players were open. Perhaps he could not see them free, but the fact is that maybe he recognized he was playing like a beast down low and he muscled it in. Plays like these separate boys from men.

    • Mattski

      This is a fascinating observation. For all the criticism of CWebb, he and Juwan were warriors down below. They would get the ball and take it straight up, certain that they were going to muscle it in and/or obtain the foul.

      • Dr_ZC

        CWebb would elevate and dunk the ball on the spot, or get fouled. Howard, on the other hand, would find the hole underneath, pump fake and bank it in. Doyle did the same.

  • gobluemd16

    I am really disappointed by Kam. You can see some flashes on the offensive end; he definitely has good vision. However, his shot is broken, he goes up very weak to the basket, is lost in his off-ball defense, and is really soft on the boards. I actually have liked Dawkins for the most part this season. I am unsure why he doesn’t get at least a little more run. Doyle was huge, of course. Hopefully he can take over the center spot from Donnal.

    • Chris De Sana

      Agree on your Kam points and also that Dawkins probably deserves more minutes. I would also like to explore some two big line ups maybe Doyle and Donnal or any combo that would also include Wilson as we need help on the boards.

      • kam

        I think we should just stop hoping for a 2 big line up. we always ask for it and it never happens..

        • Chris De Sana

          He has played Wilson and Doyle at the same time with Wilson at the 4, not for long but he has done it

  • teepod

    Ricky Doyle… “took a charge”. Wasn’t it at least 3 or 4?

  • Chris De Sana

    As mentioned below very disappointed in Kam to date, for such a highly recruited player to come in and look lost is a little shocking. I see signs that he will in time develop especially his ball skills but there have to be better options. Dawkins playing some 4? Playing 2 bigs – any combo of the 3 with first preference being Donnal and Doyle as Donnal appears to have some confidence in at least pulling the trigger a few feet away from the hoop.

    I also think Dawkins being a great athlete could be helpful on the defensive side of the ball because Kam looks lost there at times as well.

    Again I think he will be fine in time but he is very slow out of the gate and maybe some changes should be considered.

  • rlcBlue

    I was pleased with Irvin’s ball-handling and defense on Young in the half court, and with Doyle’s effort hedging on screens. The offense still looks like half the team has only 4 games experience running it. The half-court defense was respectable, except for getting the damned rebound. I’m not optimistic about what will look happen when we need to double in the post – maybe not an issue for Villanova, but it will be soon.