Game 12: Youngstown State at Michigan Recap

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan breezed past Youngstown State in its most dominant win not just of the season, but since 1919. The Wolverines beat the Penguins by a final score of 105-46 in a game that was never competitive from the opening tip.

Michigan took its starters out of the game around the eight minute mark in the second half, after starting point guard Derrick Walton had already recorded a triple-double. Almost every Wolverine got in on the action as five Michigan players reached double-figures and four more had at least 7 points in the dominant victory.

four factors - ysu

To my eyes, holding Youngstown State to .65 points per possession was a more impressive feat than scoring 1.49 points per trip, and the offensive performance probably isn’t possible without the defense.

Rip and run was the name of the game for Michigan on Saturday night as it held the Penguins to just a 36% effective field goal percentage and rebounded 88% of the Penguins’ missed shots. Youngstown State’s offense came into the game ranked 176th nationally and this was its worst offensive performance of the year by a wide margin (previously .85 PPP at Purdue). Michigan routinely turned clean rebounds into easy points as it pushed the tempo (70 possessions) and found layup after open three.

Even when Youngstown State did have time to set up its zone defense, the Wolverines worked their zone offense to perfection. Looking for a sign that the offense was clicking? It’s hard to settle on just one, but the Wolverines made 80% of their 2-point attempts on the night (28-of-35). Perhaps the scariest part of Michigan’s offensive performance is that its 71% effective field goal percentage wasn’t even its best shooting performance of the year. The Wolverines have already topped that number it in wins over Texas and Charlotte.

A big reason for that shooting efficiency was that the ball never stuck. 73% of Michigan’s 40 made field goals were assisted and nine different players notched at least one assist in the win. Zone defense creates more passing opportunities, but this was a flawless showing on the offensive side of the ball by the Wolverines.

There’s not a ton to take from a drubbing of an over-matched opponent, but its still better than any alternative result. Michigan is healthy and starting to build some chemistry as it prepares for Big Ten play. Before their December 30th opener at Illinois, the Wolverines will have one more guarantee game on Wednesday evening against Bryant.


Player Bullets:

  • Derrick Walton: There aren’t many 6-foot-1 guards who are capable of recording a triple-double. Walton made it two triple-doubles in two games with his 10 point, 13 assist, 11 rebound, four steal outing. He’s always been a great rebounder, so the 13 assists were perhaps most impressive. He attacked all night with the ball in his hands and looks healthy and confident heading into league play.
  • Caris LeVertLeVert finished with 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting with six rebounds and five assists in one of the quietest dominant games ever. He didn’t force things or waste dribbles, but attacked and made open shots when they presented themselves.
  • Duncan Robinson: When 14 points on 5-of-10 (4-7 3pt) shooting, six rebounds and three assists feels routine, you’ve proven that you belong at this level. Robinson reached double-figures for the seventh straight game and added a career-high six rebounds for good measure. He’s now a fixture in the starting lineup and Michigan’s offense has seemed to get out of the gate much faster since that change was made (obviously the competition could have something to do with that). These games have been good for Robinson because he’s starting to do a little more than shoot whether its rebounding, passing or handling it a bit more.
  • Aubrey DawkinsDawkins was the last rotation player off the bench today and his confidence looked rattled on the first shot he took. He missed that one, but went on to make 8 of his next 10 shot attempts en route to 19 points. Beilein did a great job of getting him involved with a little curl set on the next offensive possession and then he had a chance to heat up with some highlight transition dunks. Dawkins is so capable of putting up big numbers in a hurry and Michigan needs him to regain some of that swagger off the bench before league play.
  • Zak IrvinIrvin continues to do just about everything other than hit perimeter shots. He continued to be aggressive off the bounce against Youngstown State and was 3 for 3 inside the arc, but was just 0 for 3 from long range. Five defensive rebound and an assist added to an otherwise solid game, but Michigan needs its starting wing to start hitting threes in league play.
  • Kam Chatman: Chatman made plenty of positive plays inside of 15-feet, but missed all three long range attempts on the night. He has so many unique tools and was able to get to the line four times, make 2 of 3 shots inside the arc and hand out a pair of assists, but it feels like until he can hit that three (1-of-15 this year) there’ll be a ceiling on his role.
  • Moritz WagnerWagner earned 26 minutes on the night after a short stint in Tuesday night’s game. He’s the most natural offensive player among Michigan’s bigs and did a great job of flashing open. He scored 7 points on 2-of-3 shooting, but also got to the line six times (where he shot just 50%). There were still a few freshman moments, but it was a solid performance from the German.
  • DJ WilsonWilson is apparently healthy after Beilein reported on Friday that he might need a few more weeks to recover. He didn’t play until late, but scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting in just six minutes of play including back-to-back threes to close the game. The lost time due to injury over the last two weeks appear to have set Wilson back a bit in the rotation, but his length and versatility are still promising.
  • Ricky DoyleDoyle had three catches and finishes in an otherwise quiet night. He plyaed 13  minutes and grabbed only one rebound  and has a few shaky catches around the rim.
  • Muhammad-Ali Abdur-RahkmanMuhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman: Abdur-Rahkman didn’t attempt a shot in 13 minutes, but handed out an assist and grabbed three rebounds. The big rotational note here might be that Michigan went with Zak Irvin at the two-guard spot late in the first half rather than go back to Abdur-Rahkman. If Dawkins is playing well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Walton-Irvin-Robinson-Dawkins combination used to rest LeVert at times this season.
  • Mark DonnalDonnal saw just nine minutes of action and missed his only shot attempt, a running layup in transition.

Box Score

  • ChocoJoe

    Everything looked great, but I’m wondering what happened to Zak’s shot?

  • Greg

    You seem to be missing Irvin in your player bullets section. For what it’s worth, I thought he did a great job getting inside and finishing on mid-range stuff. Even though his 3-point shot still isn’t falling (and he had a quite ugly miss where he barely drew iron) he does a good job of not letting that effect the rest of his game.

  • Whoops. Forgot Irvin guys. Actually working on a more in-depth thing about him for hopefully next week though.

    • gobluemd16

      Can’t wait. He is doing pretty much everything BUT shoot threes, to my eyes

  • DetroitDan

    Abdur-Rahkman seems very willing to defer to others on offense. But when crunch time comes, I’ve got a feeling that Beilein turns to him for defense on Valentine or whomever.

    • I haven’t really seen anything in Beilein’s rotations that makes me think he’ll lean on MAAR in crunch time right now, assuming everyone is healthy.

      Derrick, Caris, Duncan and Zak are his four with the hot hand at the five.

  • bobohle

    The first game I couldn’t watch this year and souns like it was our best all around game. Congrats to Derrick on his triple double. I’m anxious to see the 5 keys of the game.

  • countourzealous

    This is an entirely different team with Walton on the floor.

  • Mattski

    Walton continues to play with this much confidence and gusto we can start revising expectations upward once more. Best I have seen him play by far.

  • Wayman Britt

    I really liked the improvement on defense in this game. UM stills has a long way to go on defense, especially guarding in the paint, but they are improving. I think Duncan has improved the most. He had some good rebounds and close outs.

    Tremondous game from Walton, he is the glue.

  • JJ3ball

    Good insight on Irvin at the two. I like that look.
    The passing was noticeably crisp and dribbling noticeably down in this game. Very nice to watch that kind of basketball.
    I do think Youngstown State looked lethargic. They just didn’t have any legs and it really showed on the boards. It was outright strange to see Michigan get seemingly every defensive rebound and an abnormal amount of offensive rebounds.
    Once again I thought Robinson exhibited passing ability on an elite level. Who taught him to play? Or, does it all come naturally to him? He sees the court and knows when and how to deliver the ball. Effortless and impressive. I love watching him play. Left handed, right handed, outlet, off the dribble, all with precision and ease, and early results are a very catchable ball delivered on time

  • Chris De Sana

    It appears a couple of predictions I made at the end of last year are coming to be accurate; Duncan Robinson would be a starter by the start of League play and that Zak Irvin would get minutes at the 2 at times when Caris Levert needed a break. I also said and still think there may be a times when we see Caris Levert take over the point; and hopefully he is able to take a smaller defender down on the block much like Gary Patton and Tim Hardaway Sr did back in the day.

    • MAZS

      Since TH Sr was only 6 foot even, there weren’t many smaller point guards he was backing down in the NBA based on size–save, perhaps Spud Webb. TH Sr did most of his damage facing his defender and breaking their ankles. And I hope your arm doesn’t hurt,

      • Chris De Sana

        Nope does not hurt a bit just remember being laughed at by so many when I made the comments.

  • JJ3ball

    I liked a possible glimpse of the future in the waning minutes with Wilson, Wagner, and Chatman playing together.

  • jemblue

    Robinson has now shot over 50% from 3-point range in 10 of 12 games – and in one of the two “off” games (NMU), he only took one shot. So it’s basically 10 of 11 games. That is amazing.

    • It really is incredible. Here’s the KenPom leaderboard for 3-point shooting this year. Consider Robinson’s volume and that’s just insane.