photo AnnArborGIFHeader_zps02670880.gif

Archive for the ‘Game Recap’ Category

Stalled: Iowa 72 – Michigan 54

Thursday, February 5th, 2015


UM vs Iowa(Dustin Johnson, UMHoops)

Tonight’s Michigan basketball game was not unlike the demise of a car’s battery from summer to winter.

The Wolverines, coming off a tough but gritty overtime loss in East Lansing on Sunday, fired out of the gates like a well-oiled machine against Iowa, getting early baskets from Zak Irvin, Spike Albrecht, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, and Kameron Chatman to take a 9-6 lead, then followed that up with a three from Irvin and a nifty lay-in from Chatman to go up 14-8 just over seven minutes into the game.

But like a car battery will suddenly die in a bitterly cold night like this one, so too did the Wolverines’ offense halt to a stop.

After pouring in six buckets in the opening seven minutes and looking much like the hungry team we’ve seen in recent weeks, Michigan managed just two more made field goals and two free throws over the final 12:59 of the first half against a lengthy Hawkeye 2-3 zone.

Meanwhile, Iowa’s potent offense came alive with threes from Peter Jok, easy lay-ins and put-backs from Adam Woodbury and Gabe Olaseni, and dunk after dunk from Aaron White.

By the time the opening act was through, Michigan’s six-point lead had crumbled into a 10-point deficit, with the visitors scoring the final 12 points before halftime mercifully set in.

Out of the break, however, it was much of the same. The battery looked dead for good with Iowa simply dominating the paint and baffling Michigan with the zone, opening up an 18-point cushion less than six minutes into the second half. White and Woodbury continued to be too much inside against a depleted Wolverine squad, but former Wisconsin Badger Jared Uthoff also decided to join in on the fun with an elbow jumper and a three early in the second half on his way to a game-high 16 points.

When it looked like all hope of driving the old beater this winter was lost, though, freshman Aubrey Dawkins came by to provide a quick jump, knocking down three triples in the span of five minutes on his way to match Uthoff’s game high.

Four Factors
Michigan Iowa
47.9 eFG% 66.7
17.2 OReb% 42.9
11.5 TO% 11.5
23.4 FTR 11.8

The battery began to make some noise at the very least, and an 18-point deficit was cut in half with eight minutes remaining and everything on the line for Michigan’s season.

As quick as the jumper cables started working, however, they were taken off and the battery conked out one final time.

Uthoff followed Dawkins’s final triple with a three of his own before point guard Mike Gesell scored his 10th point of the night and Uthoff made another bucket to put Iowa back up 14; Michigan would never get closer before falling by a final score of 72-54.

It’s tough to say how deflating a loss this could prove to be for the Wolverines.

Beilein said after the game that the loss brought a deflated feel with it, but that the team is not deflated in terms of their goals and getting better every day.

Since Caris LeVert went down a few weeks back and Derrick Walton has continued to rest his injured foot, Michigan appeared to bring their energy to another level, winning at Rutgers and destroying Nebraska at home while giving Wisconsin and Michigan State all they could handle.

Tonight was clearly a different story. The youthful Wolverines looked good right away, but once Iowa sat back in their zone, clean looks disappeared and the defense went with it. Certainly the execution was lacking, but the hustle and determination also seemed to be a step below optimal.

That’s concerning for a team that has some work to do if the Big Dance is going to be in the picture this postseason. Despite an ugly non-conference season, Michigan looked to at least have a fighter’s chance of earning a bid with a 6-4 start to conference play and eight big games left. Additionally, the projected bubble at this point appears to be wide and relatively weak. A big win here and a team just might jump into the Last Four In category.

But as we all know, protecting home court is hugely important for would-be bubble teams; this loss, Michigan’s biggest home blowout in five years, was certainly not exemplary of that.

There are more opportunities to be sure for Michigan, and a couple big wins could still spring them into the tournament, but the schedule will not be getting easier any time soon – road trips to Indiana and Illinois loom next week before rivals Michigan State and Ohio State make the return visit to Crisler the week after.

The battery sputtered before ultimately dying tonight.

Now, the Wolverines need to re-charge quickly.

Quick Hitters

• Michigan’s freshmen guards continue to develop, with Dawkins and Rahk combining for half of the team’s points on 9-of-18 shooting while the rest of the team shot just 10-of-29. Dawkins continues to shoot the ball very well from outside (4-of-7 from deep), but he also appears to be a little bit more comfortable operating within the offense and driving a bit. Rahk, on the other hand, continues to attack the basket when given the opportunity while becoming more comfortable from outside.

• Tonight’s game was lost in the paint for Michigan. Iowa went inside with ease far too often and ended up with a ridiculous 42 points on 21-of-25 shooting inside while the Wolverines only managed eight buckets on 14 attempts in the lane, as they struggled mightily to work the ball inside the three-point line. The Hawkeyes also took advantage of their size advantage to the tune of a 42.9 percent offensive rebounding rate and 13 second-chance points against Michigan’s measly 17.2 percent offensive board rate.

• Aaron White was assessed with a technical foul early in the second half for what Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said was some trash talk after a block (“you can probably guess what he said”) and was handed another technical for hanging on the rim after a dunk a few minutes later, but because of different foul classifications, he was able to remain in the game in a bizarre occurrence.

Three Stars

***Aubrey Dawkins***
16 points (5-of-8 FG, 4-of-7 3pt, 2-of-2 FT), one rebound, zero turnovers in 27 minutes

**Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman**
11 points (4-of-10 FG, 1-of-5 3pt, 2-of-2 FT), three rebounds, one assist, one steal, zero turnovers in 37 minutes

*Spike Albrecht*
10 points (3-of-8 FG, 1-of-3 3pt, 3-of-4 FT), four rebounds, five assists, one steal, three turnovers in 34 minutes

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
32 Ricky Doyle* 0-1 0-0 0-1 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 18
02 Spike Albrecht* 3-8 1-3 3-4 0 4 4 0 10 5 3 0 1 34
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman* 4-10 1-5 2-2 0 3 3 4 11 1 0 0 1 37
21 Zak Irvin* 3-10 1-6 0-0 0 1 1 1 7 0 1 0 0 32
24 Aubrey Dawkins* 5-8 4-7 2-2 1 0 1 0 16 0 0 0 0 27
03 Kameron Chatman 3-6 0-1 0-0 1 1 2 0 6 1 0 0 0 20
04 Andrew Dakich 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 9
20 Sean Lonergan 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
34 Mark Donnal 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2
44 Max Bielfeldt 1-3 0-1 2-2 1 3 4 2 4 0 1 1 1 20
Totals 19-47 7-24 9-11 5 12 17 10 54 8 6 2 3 200
Iowa 32-51 4-11 4-6 9 24 33 10 72 16 6 2 2 200
Full Stats
Beilein Tie Watch
(Sam Sedlecky, M&GB)

(Sam Sedlecky, M&GB)

Michigan State 76 – Michigan 66 OT

Monday, February 2nd, 2015


UM vs MSU(MGoBlue.com)

Michigan visited rival Michigan State on Sunday afternoon with its two best players sidelined and nearly came away with a win. With Caris LeVert out for the season and Derrick Walton Jr missing a second straight game, Michigan at one point in the first half had a lineup featuring two true freshmen, two walk-ons, and Zak Irvin. Ultimately, the Wolverines fell in overtime, 76-66.

Michigan got off to a hot start, taking a 15-8 lead eight minutes into the game. But Spike Albrecht, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, and Aubrey Dawkins each picked up a pair of fouls and were forced to the bench the rest of the half. That left walk-on Andrew Dakich to run the offense for the remainder of the half and Sean Lonergan to see extensive minutes.

An 10-2 Michigan State run over the next seven minutes gave the Spartans the lead. Then Denzel Valentine took over, hitting a pair of threes in the final two minutes of the half, and Michigan State took a 29-24 lead into the locker room.

Michigan opened the second half with a 10-4 run to regain the lead less than four minutes into the half on an Irvin steal and breakaway dunk. But MSU’s Bryn Forbes answered right back with a three. Albrecht countered with a circus layup in which he was fouled, and he converted the three-point play. And so the rest of regulation went, back and forth.

Four Factors
Michigan Michigan State
48.4 eFG% 53.4
18.9 OReb% 37.1
15.9 TO% 17.4
16.1 FTR 37.9

Michigan held a 45-40 lead at the 13:19 mark, but Michigan State scored the next six. Michigan State went up 51-48, but Albrecht tied it with a three. An Aubrey Dawkins three-point-play gave Michigan a 61-57 lead with 5:06 to play, but four straight Branden Dawson points tied it up. After Dawkins’ basket and free throw, Michigan went scoreless for four minutes and 24 seconds, allowing MSU to seize a 66-61 lead with a minute left.

Albrecht nailed his third three-pointer of the game with 42 seconds remaining to pull Michigan within two. Michigan then sent Valentine to the free throw line and he missed the front end of a one-and-one. Albrecht missed a layup, but Max Bielfeldt was there to tip it in and tie the game with 20 seconds left. A Travis Trice three-point attempt at the buzzer missed and the game went to overtime.

Valentine opened the extra period with a layup and Bielfeldt turned it over, leading to two more Spartan points. Bielfeldt missed a three on Michigan’s next possession and Matt Costello made a layup putting MSU up six. At that point, Michigan was in desperation mode, but the Wolverines were unable to score in the overtime period, falling 76-66.

Albrecht and Abdur-Rahkman each scored 18 points on a combined 14-of-27 shooting and 5-of-8 three-point shooting. Irvin was the only other Wolverine in double figures, finishing with 11 points, but he made just 1-of-6 three-point attempts. Bielfeldt scored seven points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Dawkins added seven points.

As a team, Michigan shot 43.5 percent overall and 30 percent from downtown, while Michigan State shot 46.6 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from three-point range. MSU dominated the boards, out-rebounding Michigan 43-29 and shot 12 more free throws than Michigan, converting those into eight more points.

Michigan (13-9, 6-4) returns home to face Iowa (13-8, 4-4) on Thursday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
32 Ricky Doyle* 1-1 0-0 1-1 0 1 1 1 3 0 0 0 0 15
02 Spike Albrecht* 6-13 3-6 3-3 0 2 2 4 18 2 1 0 0 37
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman* 8-14 2-2 0-0 0 3 3 2 18 1 1 0 0 32
21 Zak Irvin* 5-14 1-6 0-2 0 4 4 3 11 3 2 0 2 41
24 Aubrey Dawkins* 3-5 0-2 1-1 2 2 4 5 7 1 1 0 1 35
03 Kameron Chatman 1-4 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 2 0 2 0 0 11
04 Andrew Dakich 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 3 0 0 1 0 0 16
20 Sean Lonergan 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5
30 Austin Hatch 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
44 Max Bielfeldt 3-10 0-1 1-3 2 7 9 1 7 1 2 0 2 33
Totals 27-62 6-20 6-10 7 22 29 19 66 8 11 0 5 225
Michigan State 27-58 8-22 14-22 13 30 43 13 76 19 12 7 10 225
Full Stats

Shuckin’: Michigan 58 – Nebraska 44

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015


UM vs Nebraska(MGoBlue.com)

Michigan is still looking for a signature victory after an overtime loss to Wisconsin on Saturday, but a 58-44 waxing of Nebraska without its two best players was a step in the right direction.

Derrick Walton, Jr. joined Caris LeVert on the bench Tuesday night with Michigan hosting Tim Miles’ Cornhuskers. But three of Michigan’s unheralded role players stepped up to shoulder the load.

Aubrey Dawkins paced the Wolverines in the first half, scoring 10 of the team’s 23 points to carry a five-point lead into the break. An ugly offensive showing by Nebraska was highlighted by a zero from Big Ten leading scorer Terran Petteway.

Michigan came out of the break hot, stretching its lead to 11 with an 8-2 run. Petteway scored his first point with 15:05 left in the game, but it was too late as the Wolverines had already built an 18-point lead.

Four Factors
Michigan Nebraska
54.3 eFG% 34.7
21.4 OReb% 22.2
22.7 TO% 17.5
17.4 FTR 28.6

A Shavon Shields layup cut the lead to eight with under six minutes remaining, but Michigan answered with a Max Bielfeldt layup and never let Nebraska back within 10.

Dawkins finished with 13 points for Michigan, second only to Zak Irvin, who dropped in 14 and grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman helped Michigan ice the game with three fast break layups in the second half. He finished with nine points and four rebounds on four of eight shooting.

Bielfeldt put up 12 points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench. Starting center Ricky Doyle scored four points and grabbed two boards in the other 14 minutes.

Mark Donnal was sidelined with an upper respiratory infection, which has ravaged through the Michigan locker room this season.
Shields was the only Cornhusker to score more than seven points Tuesday, finishing the game with 14 points on just four of 12 shooting.

Petteway, who finished with seven points, snapped a 30-game streak of scoring in the double digits.

With Michigan up 14, Austin Hatch got into the game for 7.8 seconds.

The Wolverines moved to 6-3 in the Big Ten, good for fourth place halfway through the conference schedule. The wins have come against the six worst teams in the conference standings.

John Beilein will lead his team into East Lansing on Sunday for a matchup with Michigan State.

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
32 Ricky Doyle* 2-5 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 3 4 0 1 1 0 14
02 Spike Albrecht* 0-2 0-0 6-6 0 2 2 3 6 7 1 0 0 34
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman* 4-8 0-1 1-1 0 4 4 2 9 1 2 0 1 37
21 Zak Irvin* 5-12 3-7 1-1 1 11 12 0 14 3 1 0 1 38
24 Aubrey Dawkins* 5-7 3-3 0-0 0 2 2 2 13 1 2 1 0 32
03 Kameron Chatman 0-3 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0 0 8
04 Andrew Dakich 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 0 1 0 1 8
20 Sean Lonergan 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
30 Austin Hatch 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
44 Max Bielfeldt 6-9 0-2 0-0 4 5 9 1 12 0 1 0 0 26
Totals 22-46 6-14 8-8 6 28 34 14 58 12 13 2 3 200
Nebraska 15-49 4-19 10-14 8 18 26 12 44 6 10 2 3 200
Full Stats
Beilein Tie Watch
(Sam Sedlecky, M&GB)

(Sam Sedlecky, M&GB)

Near upset: #6 Wisconsin 69 – Michigan 64 OT

Sunday, January 25th, 2015


Michigan vs Wisconsin(Teresa Mathew, UMHoops)

ESPN’s College Gameday was in Ann Arbor for Michigan’s matchup with the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday night, but that doesn’t mean anyone was really expecting a good game between the two teams at opposite ends of the experience spectrum.

The Badgers, led by the eccentric but outstanding Bo Ryan, came in as the 6th-ranked team nationally, boasting a lineup replete with size, experience, talent, and cohesiveness. Frank Kaminsky, a preseason All-American 7-footer, is arguably one of the three best players in the country, but he’s joined by fellow senior Josh Gasser, junior (and surefire first-rounder) Sam Dekker, and experienced sophomores Nigel Hayes — a skilled big man — and Bronson Koenig. Coming off the bench, Ryan prefers another senior and another pair of sophomores being weaned into a handful of minutes per game. On Saturday night, not a single visiting freshman checked into the game.

Wisconsin returned just about everyone coming off a trip to the Final Four last season, and they’ve looked the part so far this year, with their only losses coming to Duke and a puzzling fall at Rutgers, where Kaminsky sat out and point guard Traevon Jackson injured himself in the second half.

Compare that to this season’s Michigan outfit, which is now down to nine scholarship players and starts two freshmen, two sophomores, and a junior – along with a bench full of more freshmen and walk-ons – and you see why the Badgers entered the evening as double-digit favorites. And though the Wolverines were just one round away from dancing in Dallas with the Badgers, injuries and NBA attrition have forced coach John Beilein into playing multiple lineups with almost no experience; on Saturday night, five freshmen and two sophomore walk-ons logged minutes for the home Maize and Blue.

For much of the night, the inklings of the Badgers’ superiority proved accurate, with Wisconsin jumping out to an early seven-point lead, enduring Michigan’s first-half run, then bringing it back to seven at the break before opening the lead up to 11 four minutes into the second half.

Dekker used his 6’9″ frame and athleticism to shoot over and drive past the defense on his way to eight first-half points, Koenig knocked down three of four shots for seven, and bigs Hayes and Kaminsky pitched in six a piece before the break. Michigan also displayed some nice balanced scoring, with six different players getting on the board in the first half, but no one scored more than Max Bielfeldt’s six. The Wolverines stuck in the game by taking advantage of an uncharacteristic six first-half giveaways from the Badgers – prompting Bo Ryan to quip that he was pondering opening a bakery because of so many turnovers in one of the more bizarre jokes I’ve ever heard in a press conference – and an even more surprising five offensive rebounds, including three for Bielfeldt that were all put back up and made.

The sloppy play for the Badgers wouldn’t continue forever, though, as the visitors turned it over just once in the second half, allowing them to use their full possessions and dominate with their size. A couple times, Spike Albrecht was comically caught trying to body up Kaminsky, who had his way in the post for much of the game to the tune of 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting without a single triple attempt.

Four Factors
Michigan Wisconsin
49.1 eFG% 53.9
36.7 OReb% 29.0
15.4 TO% 13.7
22.2 FTR 37.3

Despite the odds, Michigan still fought back as they have so many times this season. Missing leader Caris LeVert for just the second game, the Wolverines seemed to move the ball a little better around the perimeter with less reliance on the three. After falling down early in the game, Bielfeldt stepped up down low for three offensive boards and buckets to help the home squad take a 17-16 lead before fellow big man Mark Donnal checked in to score four more quick points, including one bucket on a pretty 15-foot turnaround fadeaway baseline jumper to keep Michigan up two with 3:13 remaining.

The Maize and Blue wouldn’t score the rest of the half, however, while Wisconsin quickly reeled off nine points courtesy of a Hayes and-one and buzzer-beating three and a ferocious dunk from Dekker, who had to leave the court after converting the three-point play due to a sizable amount of blood coming from his hand.

Early in the second half, it looked like Wisconsin would finally escape the ties of Michigan’s dizzying array of defenses and run away with it, but four straight buckets from four different Wolverines and a pair of Derrick Walton free throws tied things up at 38 midway through the second half. A Bronson Koenig three finally halted Michigan’s 11-0 run, but Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman stepped right up and nailed a three of his own to knot it up again.

With a veteran savvy that is becoming increasingly rare in college basketball, however, the Badgers remained unfazed and immediately scored seven in a row to go up 48-41 with just 7:33 remaining. It looked like the book would finally be closed on the evening, but Michigan fought back valiantly with five straight from Zak Irvin and a huge pair of makes from Rahk and Walton to cut things to two with 22 seconds left right after Josh Gasser missed the front end of his 1-and-1 try.

Michigan, with no choice but to foul, sent Koenig to the line for a 1-and-1 opportunity, and happily saw the second miss. Walton quickly got fouled, drained a pair to cut the lead to one, then Aubrey Dawkins put Koenig back to the line for two.

This time, the sophomore made good on both to give Wisconsin a three-point lead with just 10 seconds remaining.

The Wolverines would have one chance to send it to overtime, and with Bo Ryan electing not to intentionally foul, Dawkins caught a pass from Walton on the left wing, went up to shoot – drawing two defenders – and deftly laid it back off to an open Walton on the left.

The shot hung in the air for a few memorable moments before finding nothing but net, causing Crisler to erupt in a deafening roar as Michigan took it to OT.

Unfortunately for the terrific crowd and the scrappy Wolverines, the dream comeback died shortly after. Frank Kaminsky started off the extra period with an incredible and-one finish over Ricky Doyle, then Josh Gasser hit a three after a Michigan turnover to put Wisconsin up six before Beilein’s team knew what hit them.

And although the Wolverines had mustered up comeback after comeback all night long, this lead proved insurmountable. Kaminsky would finish the overtime period with eight of his game-high 22 while Gasser pitched in the three and Dekker made one free throw, giving Wisconsin the 69-64 win.

After the epic battle, Beilein said there would be no moral victories taken despite the encouraging performance, but that Michigan will certainly learn from the loss and continue to key in on what they did well.

It’s hard to not see this game as a positive for Michigan performance-wise, though, even if they let another potential season-changing win fall through their grasp.

Nine different Wolverines scored, led by Derrick Walton’s 17, while only Wisconsin’s starting five got on the scoreboard. Particularly encouraging for Michigan also was the collective output of bigs Doyle, Donnal, and Bielfeldt, who combined for 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting and 13 rebounds, including six offensive, while doing about as well as you could hope against the likes of Kaminsky and Hayes down low. That pair scored 32 points, but it took them 23 shots to get there.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (Rahk) was another bright spot, as the freshman scored nine points on four shots and showed positive signs for the third straight game, according to Beilein. Rahk continues to display a better grasp of the offense and greatly increased confidence, but perhaps most impressive has been the drastic improvement in his outside shot. The knock on the Philadelphia native coming in was his inability to provide a deep threat, and he certainly struggled shooting earlier this year, but his shot looks terrific right now, and he has not been afraid to take the big ones.

The Wolverines will now face a Nebraska team this Tuesday coming off a home win over Michigan State before a gauntlet of games awaits in February.

At this point, Michigan has lots of catching up to do in order to have even an outside shot at making the Big Dance, but if they can play like this on a nightly basis, there should be a few reasonable opportunities for big wins in the near future.

The first step has been taken. Now the effort must be sustained.

Quick Hitters:

• In his press conference, Beilein confirmed that Michigan was fouling on purpose at the end of the first half, but that, looking back on it, they executed very poorly. The Wolverines had two fouls to give, but the confusion started when Walton, who already had one foul on the night, picked up a second foul some 30 feet from the hoop with 19 seconds on the clock. Michigan fouled again with nine seconds remaining, but that still gave Wisconsin plenty of time to score, which they capitalized on with a corner three from Nigel Hayes.

The controversial strategy from Beilein is designed to take advantage of “free” fouls at the end of the half in order to give the other team very little time to get set up and finish with a bucket, but in order to work, Michigan would like to leave the team with four seconds or fewer to operate. By fouling with 19 seconds left, the strategy was destined to fail, as Michigan couldn’t possibly utilize just one more foul to give effectively with so much time left.

Three Stars:

***Derrick Walton Jr.***
17 points (4-of-12 FG, 2-of-5 3pt, 7-of-8 FT), five rebounds (two offensive), two assists, one steal, one turnover in 39 minutes

**Max Bielfeldt**
9 points (4-of-6 FG, 1-of-3 3pt, 1-of-2 FT), five rebounds (three offensive) in 13 minutes

*Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman*
9 points (3-of-4 FG, 1-of-1 3pt, 2-of-2 FT), two rebounds in 23 minutes

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
21 Zak Irvin* 5-15 2-6 0-0 1 1 2 0 12 2 1 0 1 40
24 Aubrey Dawkins* 1-3 1-3 0-0 0 3 3 4 3 2 0 1 0 24
32 Ricky Doyle* 1-3 0-0 2-2 1 4 5 3 4 0 0 0 0 23
02 Spike Albrecht* 1-4 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 2 2 1 0 0 25
10 Derrick Walton Jr* 4-12 2-5 7-8 2 3 5 4 17 2 5 0 1 40
03 Kameron Chatman 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 2 2 0 0 0 0 22
04 Andrew Dakich 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman 3-4 1-1 2-2 0 2 2 4 9 0 0 0 0 23
20 Sean Lonergan 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
34 Mark Donnal 3-5 0-0 0-0 2 1 3 0 6 0 0 0 0 11
44 Max Bielfeldt 4-6 1-3 0-0 3 2 5 3 9 0 0 0 0 14
Totals 23-54 7-20 11-12 11 22 33 20 64 8 9 1 2 225
Wisconsin 24-51 7-21 14-19 9 21 30 12 69 12 8 1 4 225
Full Stats

Stepping up: Michigan 54 – Rutgers 50

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015


Walton vs Rutgers(Jim O’Connor, USA Today Sports)

It’s no secret that Michigan’s basketball team has struggled mightily this season after losing three players to the NBA and two big guys – one to graduation and a second to transfer – off a roster that made it to the Elite Eight last season. But it would have been hard for anyone to predict just how bad it would get.

After slogging through a non-conference schedule that saw home losses to the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Eastern Michigan, among a handful of other defeats, the Wolverines entered Big Ten season not looking to do much. Somehow, though, Michigan managed to stitch together a 3-2 record – albeit with two blowout road losses – heading into Saturday’s home showdown with Northwestern. Again, the struggles continued, but the young Wolverines managed to pull out an ugly and unencouraging two-point victory.

But one day later, the season that seemed to have already hit rock bottom fell further into the ground with the announcement that star junior wing Caris LeVert, who led Michigan in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and minutes per game, would miss the remainder of the season with a broken foot suffered on the last play against Northwestern.

Fast-forward to tonight. Michigan would have to take to the road to face a team that defeated then-#4 Wisconsin two Saturdays ago and had given both Maryland and Minnesota good games on the road.

Michigan, clearly missing their star player, shoots 34.7 percent from the floor, 30.8 percent from downtown, and records 11 turnovers. Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton, and Spike Albrecht – what now must be considered the new “Big Three” – combined to make nine of 25 shots and just four of 15 triples while turning it over seven times. The Maize and Blue, as has become the norm this season, also suffered through nearly nine and a half minutes in the second half in which they could only manage one bucket, and five times went scoreless in three-minute periods.

And, oh yeah, at one point in the first half, Michigan’s lineup consisted of a sophomore walk-on who had played zero meaningful minutes to-date, another sophomore walk-on who was planning to redshirt so that he could eventually transfer to a smaller school for a fifth year and had not played a minute all season, a sparsely used freshman guard, another freshman who had lost his spot in the starting lineup due to increasingly poor play, and a third freshman who had fallen from first-game starter to third-string big man. Having trouble coming up with the names? That would be Sean Lonergan, Andrew Dakich, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Kameron Chatman, and Mark Donnal, respectively.

As expected, Michigan got blown out by 30…won? Don’t ask me, I’m just as confused as anyone else.

But yes, you read that correctly – the Wolverines inexplicably pulled off a 54-50 road win at Rutgers despite a bevy of injuries, illnesses, and ineptitude to move to 5-2 in Big Ten play.

No Michigan player scored more than 12 points, but nine different Wolverines scored for just the sixth time all year and just the second time in conference play.

Michigan also managed to hold Rutgers to a putrid 35.8 percent mark from the floor and 29.4 percent from three.

The difference, however, might have been at the free throw line, where the Wolverines knocked down five more free throws (12) than Rutgers despite both having 14 total attempts. Derrick Walton, Jr. led the way there with a perfect 6-of-6 mark to ice the game away while finishing with a team-high 12 points.

Four Factors
Michigan Rutgers
42.9 eFG% 40.6
31.3 OReb% 35.1
19.2 TO% 19.2
28.6 FTR 26.4

It’s been a season of mostly downs for the Maize and Blue, and compounding the loss of the core of last year’s impressive team has been a rash of injuries and ailments. Both Walton and Albrecht have been suffering through lower body injuries throughout the majority of the season, LeVert is now done for the year with a broken foot (the same foot he broke last summer), Zak Irvin has been beat up in a couple games and is apparently ill, Albrecht missed Saturday’s game with an illness, and starting center Ricky Doyle once again could not go in the second half after looking completely worn out in just a couple minutes of play.

Rather than fold, though, Michigan has battled, and never more so than tonight. The Wolverines managed to hold onto a lead for the majority of the first half even with Zak Irvin glued to the bench with two fouls and a lineup that Tom Izzo would most certainly refer to as ‘weird’, and entered halftime up two behind five points and six rebounds from senior Max Bielfeldt and five points from freshman Aubrey Dawkins.

Irvin then came out of the break on a mission, netting five straight points in a minute and a half to put Michigan up four before Dawkins made a pretty driving layup and a free throw to give the Wolverines a seven-point lead – what would end up being the biggest of the evening.

Following the promising second half start came the all-too-familiar offensive drought for Michigan, however; after going up seven, the Wolverines scored exactly two points over the next 9:12 and suddenly found themselves down six to the equally listless Scarlet Knights.

I, though usually optimistic, simply could not envision a scenario in which Michigan could scrounge up enough offense to stage a comeback; in fact, I’ll even admit to doubting whether or not the visitors would score six points the rest of the way.

Yet within those final eight minutes, a light came on. Dawkins drained a huge three from the left wing to cut Rutgers’ lead in half before Derrick Walton and Spike Albrecht made back-to-back buckets – the first of the night for both – to tie it up at 42 with just under six minutes remaining.

After a couple more empty possessions on both ends, Walton knocked down his second triple in as many tries for Michigan and Bielfeldt unhesitatingly drained a trey of his own to mirror their earlier six-point deficit.

With three minutes left to make a final run, Rutgers had no chance of mustering up enough offense, and the Wolverines escaped.

Sure, the victory was far from pretty, and few problems appear to be truly solved, but John Beilein will certainly take a road win given the extreme circumstances. The win also marks the second time of Big Ten play in which Michigan has been able to take two of three games.

That’s a ratio that Beilein and squad would lovingly live with the rest of the way, but unfortunately the schedule is about to get a lot tougher.

Coming up this Saturday is a home tussle with Big Ten beasts Wisconsin that will feature as ESPN’s College GameDay contest. Another home game against lowly Nebraska closes out January before a brutal January consisting of at Michigan State, vs. Iowa, at Indiana, at Illinois, vs. Ohio State, vs. Michigan State, and at Maryland arrives.

For now, the Wolverines will enjoy the improbable victory, hope to heal up quickly, and focus on the Badgers. According to my friend and bracketologist Joe Cook, a win there would put Michigan near the bubble.

Perhaps it’s not what Michigan had planned on going into this season. But it’s certainly refreshing to see these Wolverines – no matter how young and battered they may be – continue to battle to stay alive.

Quick Hitters:

• One game after freshman Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman earned his first start in place of the ill Spike Albrecht on Saturday, classmate Aubrey Dawkins started his first career game tonight and made it count with 11 points on eight shots, three rebounds, and one block. Dawkins’s game continues to progress slowly after his coming out party against Illinois, and though he doesn’t do any one thing spectacularly yet, he’s shown enough to overtake the struggling Kam Chatman’s spot in the rotation. Dawkins’s shot looks good, his hops have propelled him to a couple nice rebounds, and his comfort level on both ends of the floor appears to be on the rise.

Perhaps the best play of the evening came on a terrific drive from Abdur-Rahkman midway through the second half in the middle of Michigan’s brutal scoring drought. The Philadelphia native was pressured all the way down the court and left to handle it on his own, nearly drew a 10-second violation, then blew by his defender without help and laid in a layup (something that hasn’t come easily to many Wolverines this season). Rahk also continues to earn more minutes, tallying four points in 14 minutes tonight.

 Ricky Doyle was clearly winded early on in the first half again as he continues to deal with an infection of some sort, but still managed three blocks in just seven minutes.

Three Stars:

***Derrick Walton Jr.***
12 points (2-of-8 FG, 2-of-7 3pt, 6-of-6 FT), seven rebounds, three assists, one steal, three turnovers in 30 minutes

**Aubrey Dawkins**
11 points (4-of-8 FG, 2-of-5 3pt, 1-of-2 FT), three rebounds (one offensive), one block in 31 minutes (career high)

*Max Bielfeldt*
8 points (2-of-7 FG, 1-of-3 3pt, 3-of-4 FT), eight rebounds (four offensive), one assist, one turnover in 22 minutes

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
21 Zak Irvin* 3-9 2-5 2-2 0 2 2 2 10 0 2 0 0 24
24 Aubrey Dawkins* 4-8 2-5 1-2 1 2 3 2 11 0 0 1 0 31
32 Ricky Doyle* 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 3 0 7
02 Spike Albrecht* 1-4 0-3 0-0 0 2 2 0 2 3 2 0 2 32
10 Derrick Walton Jr* 2-8 2-7 6-6 0 7 7 0 12 3 3 0 1 30
03 Kameron Chatman 1-3 0-0 0-0 2 0 2 1 2 0 2 0 0 8
04 Andrew Dakich 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman 2-4 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 4 1 1 0 0 14
20 Sean Lonergan 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 13
34 Mark Donnal 1-4 1-2 0-0 2 5 7 1 3 0 0 1 0 15
44 Max Bielfeldt 2-7 1-3 3-4 4 4 8 2 8 1 1 0 0 22
Totals 17-49 8-26 12-14 10 24 34 12 54 9 11 5 3 200
Rutgers 19-53 5-17 7-14 13 22 35 17 50 8 11 3 4 200
Full Stats

Rahk on: Michigan 56 – Northwestern 54

Saturday, January 17th, 2015


MAAR vs Northwestern(Dustin Johnson, UMHoops)

On Muhammad Ali’s 73rd birthday, Michigan’s freshman guard who bears his name delivered the knockout blow to Northwestern. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, starting in place of Spike Albrecht who was out with a respiratory infection, recorded a career high nine points and five rebounds, but none was more important than his three-pointer in the final minute that served as the game-winning basket in Michigan’s 56-54 win over the Wildcats on Saturday night.

Michigan also started the game with a three, this one by Derrick Walton Jr, and jumped out to a 25-11 lead just over 10 minutes into the game. But the lead would be short-lived as Northwestern outscored Michigan 21-6 the rest of the half. Vic Law put the Wildcats on top with a jumper at the buzzer. Northwestern led 32-31.

Four Factors
Michigan Northwestern
42.2 eFG% 47.1
23.1 OReb% 28.6
5.3 TO% 20.5
19.0 FTR 11.5

The second half began the same way the first half ended as Northwestern scored seven of the first ten points and took a 39-34 lead. Max Bielfeldt hit a jumper and then a three to tie the game at 39 with 13:13 to play.

The rest of the game went back and forth, neither team able to pull away by more than four points. A Zak Irvin three — his only basket of the game — put Michigan ahead 53-49 with 3:48 left, but Michigan was held scoreless for the next two minutes and 51 seconds. A three by Scottie Lindsey cut the lead to one with just over a minute left, but Abdur-Rahkman hit the dagger, a three from the right wing. Alex Olah followed with a jumper, and after a Caris LeVert miss, Northwestern had one final chance to force overtime. But Bryant McIntosh missed a layup in the closing seconds and Michigan hung on for the win.

Michigan shot just 34.5 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from downtown and was out-rebounded 38-29. But the Wolverines made four more three-pointers and committed nine fewer turnovers than their counterparts. Michigan converted 12 Northwestern turnovers into 19 points.

LeVert led Michigan with 18 points on 7-of-19 shooting and also led the team with six rebounds and seven assists. But he left the arena on crutches with what John Beilein said after the game was likely a sprained ankle. Walton was the only other player in double figures with 14 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting. Rahkman added nine and Irvin six. Olah led Northwestern with 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting.

Michigan makes its first trip to Piscataway, N.J. on Tuesday to face Big Ten newcomer Rutgers (10-9, 2-4) at 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised by Big Ten Network.

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
02 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman* 4-7 1-3 0-0 1 4 5 2 9 1 1 0 1 26
32 Ricky Doyle* 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 10
10 Derrick Walton Jr* 4-11 4-6 2-2 0 5 5 2 14 0 0 0 3 40
21 Zak Irvin* 1-6 1-4 3-5 2 2 4 0 6 2 1 0 1 37
23 Caris LeVert* 7-19 2-4 2-3 0 6 6 1 18 7 1 1 0 38
03 Kameron Chatman 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 9
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman 1-6 1-5 0-0 1 0 1 0 3 1 1 0 0 15
24 Aubrey Dawkins 0-2 0-2 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 10
34 Mark Donnal 0-2 0-1 0-1 1 0 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 11
44 Max Bielfeldt 2-6 1-3 0-0 2 0 2 1 5 0 0 1 1 19
Totals 20-58 9-23 7-11 9 20 29 11 56 10 3 2 6 200
Northwestern 22-52 5-20 5-6 8 30 38 16 54 12 12 2 1 200
Full Stats

Sleepwalking: Ohio State 71 – Michigan 52

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015


UM-OSU(Greg Bartram, USA Today Sports)

After a 3-1 start to Big Ten play, Michigan had its first chance to make a statement on Tuesday night when it visited rival Ohio State. Instead, Michigan turned in a lackadaisical and unfocused performance and left with a 19-point loss.

Ohio State opened the game with a Sam Thompson dunk, but Zak Irvin answered with a three on Michigan’s first shot of the game. But that was about the only thing that went right for the Wolverines. Ohio State scored the next five points, but Michigan went on a 9-2 run to take a 12-9 lead at the 14:27 mark. But then the Wolverines went cold.

Four Factors
Michigan Ohio State
39.0 eFG% 53.5
31.6 OReb% 32.3
20.7 TO% 14.3
10.2 FTR 24.6

Michigan managed just five points over the next 9:45, and by the time Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman hit a three, Michigan was down 30-20. Ohio State closed the half with a 9-4 run to take a 39-24 lead into the locker room.

Michigan has already come back from a double-digit second-half lead this season to beat Illinois, but any hope of repeating that on Tuesday night was dashed when Michigan began the second half by missing its first 13 shots. A Max Bielfeldt tip-in ended the drought six minutes and 36 seconds into the half. Meanwhile, Ohio State had already added 13 points to its total to take a 52-26 lead.

The rest of the game was spent trying to make the final score look a bit more respectable, but the damage had been done. Michigan got within 14 points after a Mark Donnal hook shot with three minutes to play, but OSU’s Marc Loving responded with a three to ice the game.

Michigan shot just 33.9 percent from the field and 23.1 percent (6-of-26) from three-point range, while Ohio State, the Big Ten’s best shooting team, shot 49.1 percent overall, making eight more field goals than Michigan did on two fewer attempts. While the rebounding margin was close (36-33 in Ohio State’s favor) Michigan turned the ball over 13 times and was outscored off of turnovers 19-8.

Columbus native Caris LeVert led Michigan with 14 points on 4-of-10 shooting, while Irvin was the only other Wolverine in double figures with 11 points, also on 4-of-10 shooting. But the duo combined for seven turnovers. The other three starters — Derrick Walton Jr, Spike Albrecht, and Ricky Doyle — combined for just eight points and eight rebounds on 4-of-15 shooting. Donnal scored eight points off the bench and freshman Aubrey Dawkins added six.

Ohio State was led by D’Angelo Russell’s 21 points. Sam Thompson contributed 12 and Amir Williams 10.

Michigan returns home to host Northwestern (10-6, 1-2) on Saturday night. The game will be televised by Big Ten Network at 8:15 p.m. EST.

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
02 Spike Albrecht* 2-4 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 3 4 0 1 0 0 29
32 Ricky Doyle* 1-4 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 1 2 2 1 0 0 15
10 Derrick Walton Jr* 1-7 1-3 0-0 0 5 5 4 2 2 1 0 0 27
21 Zak Irvin* 4-10 3-6 0-0 2 3 5 1 11 0 4 0 0 32
23 Caris LeVert* 4-10 2-5 4-4 0 2 2 4 14 1 3 0 1 31
03 Kameron Chatman 0-3 0-1 0-0 0 3 3 2 0 2 0 0 1 14
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman 1-6 1-5 0-0 1 0 1 0 3 1 1 0 0 15
24 Aubrey Dawkins 3-6 0-2 0-0 2 1 3 1 6 0 1 0 0 13
34 Mark Donnal 3-7 0-2 2-2 2 2 4 0 8 0 1 0 0 17
44 Max Bielfeldt 1-2 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 6
Totals 20-59 6-26 6-6 12 21 33 16 52 8 13 0 2 200
Ohio State 28-57 5-18 10-14 10 26 36 16 71 20 9 5 11 200
Full Stats

Comeback: Michigan 62 – Minnesota 57

Saturday, January 10th, 2015


B7BLldVCEAAiXhx.jpg-large(Teresa Mathew, UMHoops)

With the game slipping away midway through the second half, Michigan turned to the 1-3-1 zone. It was enough to hold Minnesota at bay and allow the Wolverines to turn a nine-point deficit into a five-point win over the final nine minutes.

Michigan trailed just 27-25 at the half, but after hitting three of their first four shots in the second half, the Wolverines went cold. Over a seven minute span, Minnesota outscored Michigan 17-8 to take a 49-40 lead with 8:56 to play.

But Minnesota went scoreless for nearly three minutes, turning the ball over four times in the process as Michigan pulled within two. Michigan finally got over the hump when Derrick Walton Jr hit a three-pointer with 3:24 remaining to give the Wolverines a 54-52 lead.

After a pair of missed free throws by Minnesota big man Maurice Walker, Caris LeVert was fouled on a three-point attempt as the shot clock ran out. He converted all three and suddenly Michigan had a five point lead. Minnesota responded with a three by Andre Hollins.

Four Factors
Michigan Minnesota
44.2 eFG% 46.9
31.3 OReb% 41.7
14.9 TO% 28.1
38.5 FTR 40.8

The teams traded turnovers and Zak Irvin missed a three-point attempt. LeVert stole the ball right back with less than a minute left, and still holding onto a two-point lead, John Beilein called a time out to set up a play. Walton drove into the lane off of a Ricky Doyle screen. Doyle rolled to the basket and Walton flipped the ball up in front of the rim where only Doyle was to reach it. He caught it mid-air and slammed it home to put Michigan ahead by four with 26 seconds to play.

From there, it was just a formality as Irvin converted 3-of-4 free throw attempts down the stretch and Michigan picked up a 62-57 win.

For the game, Michigan shot 40.4 percent overall and just 22.2 percent from three-point range. But after going 0-of-8 in from three in the first half, Michigan made 4-of-10 in the second. Michigan’s defense held Minnesota 23 points below their season average and their lowest scoring output of the season. In addition, Michigan forced 17 turnovers compared to only nine turnovers themselves.

Walton and LeVert led the Wolverines with 15 points apiece. Walton made 3-of-4 three-point attempts and grabbed five rebounds, while LeVert shot 5-of-13 and missed all three of his three-point attempts, but grabbed four steals. Doyle scored 12 points and led the team with six rebounds, while Irvin also added 12 on 3-of-9 shooting. Spike Albrecht contributed six points, two assists, and two steals, and Kameron Chatman scored the only two points of the game for Michigan’s bench.

Minnesota, which has four players averaging in double figures, had just two on this day. Hollins led all scorers with 18 points, while Carlos Morris tallied 16. Walker, the team’s leading scorer, was held to just five on 2-of-7 shooting, though he did tally 10 rebounds. DeAndre Mathieu, who averages 9.9 points per game, was held scoreless.

Michigan has now won four of its last five and stands 3-1 in Big Ten play, but the schedule is about to get tougher. The Wolverines visit Ohio State (13-4, 2-2) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Three Stars:

***Derrick Walton Jr.***
15 points (4-of-7 FG, 3-of-4 3pt, 4-of-5 FT), five rebounds, three assists, one steal, two turnovers in 35 minutes

**Ricky Doyle**
12 points (5-of-8 FG, 2-of-3 FT), six rebounds (four offensive), one steal, one turnover in 26 minutes

*Caris LeVert*
15 points (5-of-13 FG, 0-of-3 3pt, 5-of-6 FT), three rebounds, two assists, four steal, one block, one turnover in 38 minutes

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
02 Spike Albrecht* 3-8 0-3 0-0 0 1 1 4 6 2 3 0 2 33
32 Ricky Doyle* 5-8 0-0 2-3 4 2 6 3 12 0 1 0 1 26
10 Derrick Walton Jr* 4-7 3-4 4-5 0 5 5 2 15 3 2 0 1 35
21 Zak Irvin* 3-9 1-5 5-6 2 2 4 2 12 1 2 0 1 35
23 Caris LeVert* 5-13 0-3 5-6 0 3 3 0 15 2 1 1 4 38
03 Kameron Chatman 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 2 2 1 0 1 0 7
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
24 Aubrey Dawkins 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 10
34 Mark Donnal 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 4 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 11
44 Max Bielfeldt 0-1 0-0 0-0 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Totals 21-52 4-18 16-20 10 21 31 14 62 9 9 2 9 200
Minnesota 19-49 8-22 11-20 15 22 37 15 57 10 17 1 6 200
Full Stats

Change of pace: Michigan 73 – Penn State 64

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015


Walton vs Penn State(Matthew O’Haren, USA Today Sports)

In a game Michigan desperately needed in order to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive, maybe a little change was all the doctor ordered.

Spike Albrecht, the smallest player on the roster, changed roles from sixth man to starter tonight at Penn State, taking over for a reeling Kam Chatman. And though he didn’t contribute a single point, Albrecht’s six assists and calming veteran presence may have been the difference for the Wolverines, who were able to escape Happy Valley with a massive 73-64 road victory over Penn State – in a game they were underdogs in.

On Saturday, Michigan came out firing in West Lafayette against Purdue to take an eight-point lead at halftime, but sputtered miserably in the second half and saw their comfortable lead evaporate into a 13-point loss. The young Wolverines could not score, could not drive, could not rebound, and simply could not defend versus the Boilermakers. They looked listless and uncompetitive in the second half and seemed to have possibly given up on the season that has just hit conference play.

Tonight, there were whispers of the same troubles. Four Wolverines scored before the first TV timeout to help Michigan run out to a 10-2 lead, and no one but D.J. Newbill looked to be a threat for the Nittany Lions.

Then Michigan’s ugly head reared itself again, as Penn State crawled back to take a lead just over 10 minutes into the game, taking advantage of missed Michigan layups along the way. All signs seemed to indicate that the Wolverines would be too young, too careless, and too nonchalant to fight back.

But Michigan did just that, fueled by 12 straight points from Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin and a huge corner three from Chatman to grab a lead back and go into halftime up seven.

Unlike the Purdue debacle, Michigan held onto the lead out of halftime, even upping it to double digits on back-to-back layups from freshman Ricky Doyle and then again on a sweet zone-breaking alley-oop finish and back-to-back triples from freshman Aubrey Dawkins.

Four Factors
Michigan Penn State
63.3 eFG% 48.1
26.1 OReb% 26.5
23.9 TO% 15.9
42.2 FTR 34.0

With a 51-41 lead and 11:40 to go, perhaps the boys in dark blue had finally turned the corner on a season that’s seen some thrilling victories but even more nightmarish losses.

That’s not how this script goes, however. Michigan once again resorted to poor defense and allowed Penn State to capitalize on their heightened energy. Just four minutes later, the Nittany Lions had knotted it up at 53 and gotten the sparse crowd into it. D.J. Newbill, unarguably Penn State’s star, was starting to come on at the perfect time for the home squad, while fellow senior John Johnson helped out with a three and junior big man Donovon Jack began disassembling Michigan’s porous 2-3 zone down low with a pair of buckets himself.

Earlier this season — and by that I mean three days ago — that spelled doom for Beilein’s squad of inexperienced youngsters.

Tonight, though, it was a different story. Derrick Walton calmly swished three critical free throws after being fouled in the corner, then junior leader Caris LeVert took over.

Penn State switched to a 2-3 zone, Michigan’s kryptonite this year, about midway through the second half to great success at first, but LeVert quickly decided to take matters into his own hands.

He drove left, dribbled right, shimmied past defenders, and knocked down awkward yet strangely pretty shots on three straight possessions – capped by a beautiful runner off glass – to give the visitors a four-point lead at the 3:22 mark of the second half.

Newbill quickly answered with a bullish two over Derrick Walton, Jr. to cut Michigan’s lead to a deuce, but it wouldn’t be enough. Michigan shored up the defense at the most critical time of the game, Zak Irvin made a ridiculous falling away high-arching shot from 14 feet, and the Wolverines forced two straight Newbill turnovers and turned them into four points to put things away.

Maybe this is exactly what Michigan needed to start turning things around. The Wolverines already have a solid home win over Illinois and now one big Big Ten road win to help them to a 2-1 conference record. It’s certainly a welcome start to the Second Season, and with a few winnable games in the near future, perhaps Michigan can turn this solid win into a statement win.

Penn State is certainly not the cream of the crop in the Big Ten, but they are a solid team with a couple impressive wins on the year; they were also previously unbeaten heading into tonight’s battle with Michigan.

John Beilein’s slight change to the starting lineup will go unnoticed by many, but it looks to be a smart move at the right time in the year. Spike Albrecht will hit some shots, but more importantly, he will run the offense, calm his younger teammates, and instill some leadership on the court – something that has been desperately needed.

Likewise, the move could be a big plus for Chatman, who came to Ann Arbor as a touted freshman but is experiencing some major growing pains on the college level, leaving Michigan searching for an answer at the four-spot. His five points were certainly overshadowed by Walton, Irvin, and LeVert, and even classmate Dawkins eight, but they were crucial.

Similarly important tonight was the re-emergence of Michigan’s Big Three, who had gone many games without all contributing but managed 12, 17, and 18 among Walton, Irvin, and LeVert, respectively, on 58.3 percent shooting from the field and 55.6 percent from beyond the arc in the win.

Michigan will now head back home to take on Minnesota this Saturday in another game of great importance before traveling to Columbus and then facing Northwestern at home.

The Wolverines will take the two of three to kick off Big Ten season. I think they’d be glad with two of their next three as well.

Quick Hitters:

• Mark Donnal’s playing time continues to diminish, as it seems Max Bielfeldt may have overtaken his backup big man spot in the rotation for now. Donnal saw only a minute of play and recorded one miss and one foul. Bielfeldt managed to make his lone shot attempt in limited minutes while Ricky Doyle scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds while taking the lion’s share of time down low.

Michigan probably could have run away with this game early on if not for some terribly sloppy turnovers throughout the first half and the better part of the second half. The Wolverines coughed it up a total of 15 times – five more than their season average – leading to 11 Penn State points, yet somehow scored 16 on Penn State’s 10 turnovers. All five Wolverine starters recorded multiple turnovers with Derrick Walton, Jr. leading the way with four.

 The layup woes continued, with Michigan missing at least three bunnies in the first half tonight. Doyle hit the underside of the rim on a play he needs to finish, Walton’s injured toe clearly affected his wide open layup, and Chatman missed an alley-oop lay-in on a beautiful halfcourt feed from Albrecht.

Three Stars:

***Caris LeVert***
18 points (6-of-8 FG, 2-of-2 3pt, 4-of-5 FT), four rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block, three turnovers in 25 minutes

**Zak Irvin**
17 points (6-of-9 FG, 2-of-4 3pt, 3-of-5 FT), nine rebounds (three offensive), two assists, one steal, three turnovers in 37 minutes

*Derrick Walton, Jr.*
12 points (2-of-7 FG, 1-of-3 3pt, 7-of-7 FT), six rebounds, three assists, one steal, four turnovers in 36 minutes

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
02 Spike Albrecht* 0-4 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 6 2 0 0 33
32 Ricky Doyle* 3-5 0-0 2-2 0 3 3 2 8 0 2 0 1 33
10 Derrick Walton Jr* 2-7 1-3 7-7 0 6 6 0 12 3 4 0 1 36
21 Zak Irvin* 6-9 2-4 3-5 3 6 9 2 17 2 3 0 1 37
23 Caris LeVert* 6-8 2-2 4-5 0 4 4 3 18 2 3 1 1 25
03 Kameron Chatman 2-5 1-1 0-0 1 0 1 0 5 0 0 0 0 6
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 3 1 1 0 0 6
24 Aubrey Dawkins 3-4 2-2 0-0 0 2 2 2 8 0 0 0 0 16
34 Mark Donnal 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
44 Max Bielfeldt 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 7
Totals 24-45 9-15 16-19 6 25 31 14 73 14 15 1 4 200
Penn State 22-53 7-20 13-18 9 17 26 20 64 11 10 4 5 200
Full Stats

Second half shutdown: Purdue 64 – Michigan 51

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015


Michigan vs Purdue(John Underwood, PurdueSports.com)

After opening Big Ten play with a come from behind overtime win over Illinois on Tuesday, Michigan hit the road for a matchup with Purdue on Saturday afternoon. But this time they gave up a second half lead and fell 64-51.

Derrick Walton Jr started the scoring on Michigan’s first possession, but former Michigan target Vince Edwards answered right away for the Boilermakers. Ricky Doyle hit a jumper from the free throw line, but Purdue scored five straight to take a 7-4 lead. A Doyle layup brought Michigan within one, but the Wolverines went scoreless for the next four minutes until Caris LeVert made a pair of free throws. Purdue was unable to take advantage, and when Michigan got back on track, the Wolverines began to pull away.

Four Factors
Michigan Purdue
40.4 eFG% 48.9
10.8 OReb% 37.9
17.4 TO% 22.2
42.6 FTR 63.0

Walton hit a three to put Michigan ahead 15-12, and after an A.J. Hammons layup and a LeVert breakaway dunk, Zak Irvin hit a three. After a Purdue turnover, Irvin was fouled and sank both free throws. Purdue closed to within four, but Spike Albrecht hit back-to-back threes to give Michigan a 10-point lead. Purdue responded with five straight, but with time running out in the first half, Albrecht hit another one, this time over the seven-footer Hammons to give Michigan a 33-25 halftime lead.

Purdue scored the first points of the second half on an Edwards layup and Irvin countered with a jumper of his own. But then Michigan’s offense disappeared. The Wolverines were held without a field goal for the next 12:34, getting only four points during that span on free throws from Albrecht and Walton. By the time LeVert broke the field goal drought with 6:37 to play, Michigan was down just 45-41, but Purdue scored the next nine straight to pull away. Michigan’s only other field goals the rest of the way were a three by Max Bielfeldt to pull within 57-48 with 1:46 to play and an Albrecht three in the closing seconds.

Michigan finished the game shooting just 31.9 percent from the field and 40 percent from downtown. But it was the second half that doomed the Wolverines. They made just 4-of-22 overall and 2-of-9 three-pointers in the second half, scoring just 18 points compared to Purdue’s 39. Michigan was also out-rebounded 44-22 and dominated in the paint by a margin of 32-6.

Albrecht was the only Michigan player in double figures, tying a career-high 17 points on 4-of-7 shooting (4-of-5 from three-point). Walton and Irvin each scored eight, while Doyle and LeVert chipped in six apiece. LeVert led the team with five rebounds and three assists.

Purdue got 16 points from Edwards, 13 from Jon Octeus, and a double-double from Hammons, who scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. As a team, Purdue shot 45.7 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from three-point range.

Michigan visits Penn State (12-3, 0-2) on Tuesday. The game will be televised on Big Ten Network at 7pm. Penn State lost to Rutgers 50-46 on Saturday evening.

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
03 Kameron Chatman* 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 7
32 Ricky Doyle* 3-3 0-0 0-2 0 2 2 1 6 0 1 1 1 20
10 Derrick Walton Jr* 2-9 1-4 3-3 1 2 3 2 8 2 2 0 1 26
21 Zak Irvin* 2-12 1-4 3-4 1 3 4 1 8 1 2 0 1 37
23 Caris LeVert* 2-8 0-1 2-3 0 5 5 2 6 3 2 0 1 38
02 Spike Albrecht 4-7 4-5 5-6 0 2 2 2 17 2 0 0 1 29
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 5
24 Aubrey Dawkins 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 2 0 0 1 0 0 18
34 Mark Donnal 0-2 0-1 0-2 2 0 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 5
44 Max Bielfeldt 2-4 2-4 0-0 0 2 2 1 6 1 2 1 1 15
Totals 15-47 8-20 13-20 4 18 22 20 51 9 11 2 6 200
Purdue 21-46 3-13 17-29 11 33 44 18 62 12 14 3 7 200
Full Stats