Final Horn: Xavier 86, Michigan 70

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan suffered its first loss of the season on Friday evening as Xavier walked out of the Crisler Center with a statement, 86-70, victory.

Xavier was the most aggressive and physical team and had an answer whenever Michigan cut into its second half lead. The Wolverines will head on the road to the Bahamas in hopes of finding their footing against a talented UConn team.

Player of the game

Caris LeVert. LeVert carried Michigan, but it wasn’t enough. The 6-foot-6 senior finished with 29 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the losing effort

It was over when

Michigan cut the lead to two points twice in the second half, but both times Xavier answered immediately with a three. But the game was out of reach with 6:34 to play in the second half.

A multiple offensive rebound possession for Xavier ended up with a pair of free throws for Trevon Bluiett, who beat Zak Irvin to a 50-50 ball, to stretch the lead to 11 points.

That play was part of a 12-1 Xavier run that would eventually stretch the lead to 15 points.

Stat of the game: Xavier’s offense

Xavier scored 1.30 points per possession on the night in what was a brutal defensive performance by the Wolverines. The Musketeers got penetration, second chances and finished at the rim. Xavier had four players in double figures on the night, Michigan had just one.

Room for improvement: Interior play

Xavier outscored Michigan 34-14 in the paint and the offense came not just from big men like Jalen Reynolds (15 points), but also guards slashing past Michigan’s wings and guards with relatively no resistance.

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  • AADave

    The game was lost in the post. Poor interior defense and destroyed on the boards. They also were a net -5 at the free throw line compared to Xavier. But a 47-29 deficit on the boards was the difference and then some.

    Xavier’s a good team. Looks at least like a top 20 team. So it’s not a terrible loss.

    But Michigan needs to somehow eliminate its softness on the inside and improve its rebounding. Donnal looks like a lost cause. Doyle should be ok if not great. Wilson and Wagner should improve but how much is uncertain. Why Beilein doesn’t recruit more athletic posts is a mystery.

  • jblair52

    Xavier shot better from 3, FT, and had fewer turnovers.

    …and their 18 offensive rebounds didn’t help either.

  • three_goggles

    Pretty bad game. Some big things stuck out to me.
    1) I’m shocked he didn’t trim the rotation more. Hard to get our backup guards/wings in a rhythm when you’re playing 12 guys.
    2) Levert tries to do it himself a lot and rightfully so. My god he is a gifted scorer.
    3) Derrick Walton needs to play better offensively. 4 points and 2 rebounds is unacceptable for our 2nd option. The difference between last game and this game from DW is baffling to me.
    4) clearly our bigs just aren’t good enough. I’d love to see more Moritz, at least the intensity is there and that and one was beautiful. If we can’t defend or rebound at all with one of our four bigs, is it completely ridiculous to consider playing 5-out with all guards? The levert/Irvin pick and rolls looked nice and Walton, Levert, Irvin, Dawkins, Kam/Duncan would be pretty tough to out-score. Can’t imagine they could do worse on the boards than we did tonight

  • JJ3ball

    It’s not like M was loafing, but man, Xavier played with considerable more effort.
    In an attempt to put a positive spin on a beat down in the paint, Doyle was close on numerous plays, but it just wasn’t his night. Anybody else remember the Jordan Morgan bad hands days of his early M years?

  • JohnNavarreIsMyHero

    We miss wide open shots, they make them.

    We miss Free throws, they make them.

    We don’t make any effort plays, they make most of them.

    Completely sloppy and really no excuse to look this bad.

  • rocon

    the defense by the guards was not impressive. granted the inside defense was poor, Xavier rarely had difficulty penetrating to the basket. that will likely improve, however, the effort outside was not visible on defense.