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Posts Tagged ‘Ben Brust’

Beatdown in Badgertown: Michigan 77 – Wisconsin 70

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

(Mike McGinnis, Getty Images)

The last time Michigan won at Kohl Center, Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, and 98 Degrees were all vying for the top spot on the music charts. On Saturday evening, John Beilein’s squad put an end to that streak, topping the Badgers 77-70 to remain atop the Big Ten standings.

Holding a 68-67 lead with 1:14 remaining, Michigan was in desperate need of a basket. Wisconsin had gone on a 14-2 run over the previous six minutes and Michigan needed to stop the bleeding. That’s when Nik Stauskas took over. The sophomore dribbled the ball outside the arc on the left wing, started to drive towards the paint, but pulled back, brought the ball between his legs and pulled up from three-point range. Nothing but net.

Caris LeVert made all three of his three-point attempts en route to a 20-point night (Mike McGinnis, Getty Images)

Now with a four point lead, Jordan Morgan fouled Traevon Jackson, who hit one of two. From there on, it was a matter of hitting free throws and Michigan did just that. Stauskas was sent to the line three times and made all six attempts while Wisconsin was unable to make several desperation three-point attempts to seal the win.

Michigan started the game on fire, jumping out to a 15-8 lead in the first four minutes and maintaining a five-to-ten point lead the entire half. The Wolverines shot 60.7 percent and made 4-of-5 three-point attempts in the half and took a 43-38 lead into the locker room.

In the second half, Michigan’s shooting regressed back to the norm a bit, but the Wolverines were still able to widen the lead to 15 in the first eight minutes of the half. Then, Michigan went cold, leading to the Wisconsin run down the stretch.

For the game, Michigan shot 54.7 percent from the field and made 7-of-13 three-point attempts. Michigan out-rebounded Wisconsin 31-30 and blocked seven Badger shots.

Stauskas finished the game with 23 points on 7-of-17 shooting. He also added four rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal. Caris LeVert added 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting, making all three of his three-point attempts. Glenn Robinson III was the only other Wolverine in double figures with an efficient 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford combined to score 12 points, grab 15 rebounds and block five shots.

The third-ranked Badgers became the highest-ranked team Michigan has ever beaten on the road. Michigan remains tied with Michigan State, the only two teams in the Big Ten still unbeaten in league play. The Wolverines host Iowa (14-3, 3-1) on Wednesday.

Three Stars

***Nik Stauskas***
23 points (7-of-17 FG, 3-of-9 3PT, 6-of-6 FT), four rebounds, four assists, two blocks, one steal in 37 minutes

**Caris LeVert**
20 points (7-of-15 FG, 3-of-3 3PT, 3-of-3 FT), seven rebounds, four assists, four steals in 38 minutes

*Josh Gasser*
16 points (4-of-7 FG, 4-of-5 3PT, 4-of-5 FT), one rebound in 38 minutes


Michigan’s 5-0 Big Ten start is its best since starting 6-0 during the 2002-03 season

Nik Stauskas has now scored 20 or more points eight times this season

Caris LeVert has now scored 20 or more points three times this season

Final Game Stats
01 Glenn Robinson III* 6-8 0-0 2-2 0 0 0 3 14 1 2 0 0 31
10 Derrick Walton Jr.* 1-2 0-0 0-1 0 2 2 0 2 2 0 0 0 31
11 Nik Stauskas* 7-17 3-9 6-6 0 4 4 2 23 4 2 2 1 37
52 Jordan Morgan* 3-3 0-0 0-0 1 7 8 4 6 1 1 3 0 21
23 Caris LeVert* 7-15 3-3 3-3 1 6 7 2 20 4 4 0 4 38
02 Spike Albrecht 1-2 1-1 1-2 0 0 0 1 4 0 0 0 1 10
15 Jon Horford 3-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 7 2 6 0 2 2 0 17
21 Zak Irvin 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 14
44 Max Bielfeldt 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Totals 29-53 7-13 12-14 3 28 31 14 77 12 11 7 6 200
Wisconsin 26-60 7-18 11-14 8 22 30 15 70 11 9 2 4 200
Full Stats

Sam’s 3 thoughts: Wisconsin

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

It’s no secret that Michigan’s schedule to open the conference season has been a little bit misrepresentative of the Big Ten’s overall strength. So far, the Wolverines’ four conference foes are just 4-11 in Big Ten games outside of Michigan. Even so, a 4-0 start to league play is nothing to be ashamed of, as the Maize and Blue are now one of only two undefeated teams left.

The road will not remain so easy, however, and the first difficult stretch of games begins this afternoon with a trip to the Kohl Center and a date with the 16-1 Wisconsin Badgers (6 p.m. EST on ESPN). Wisconsin, fresh off their first loss of the season to Indiana, will certainly be playing inspired basketball on a home court that has not played host to a Michigan victory the last 11 times these two teams faced off in Madison. But the Wolverines should make it competitive if they play a complete game.

Here are my thoughts for Michigan on this classic Big Ten battle.

Maximize and Value Possessions: This short tip is one that defines John Beilein’s basic offensive philosophy, and something his Michigan teams have done very well. Wisconsin, however, is a unique beast. In today’s preview of the Badgers, Beilein, Nik Stauskas, and Jordan Morgan all alluded to the notion that Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin team simply does not beat itself, and to have a chance against it, Michigan must value each and every possession while trying to snag as many extra possessions as possible. It is not rocket science, and Beilein’s young Wolverines already do a tremendous job holding onto the basketball and scoring with great efficiency, but it deserves repeating for tomorrow.

To have a shot in the game, Michigan absolutely cannot hand Wisconsin the ball and cannot take bad shots. Certainly, a perfect zero-turnover, 100 percent shooting night will not happen, but every time Michigan does cough it up or miss an ill-advised look, Wisconsin will seize the opportunity and make them pay. Similarly, if Michigan does not take advantage of the few turnovers the Badgers afford them, the Wolverines will not win. An overall solid performance should keep it close, but a great showing may be necessary to get the win in the end.

Ben Brust put a dagger in Michigan's heart last season, something the Wolverines won't forget (David Stluka)

The one area of the possession battle Michigan may try to exploit is on the glass. Wisconsin is a relatively small team, and while they usually rebound well for their size, the Badgers’ second-, third-, and fourth-best rebounders measure in at 6’1″, 6’2″, and 6’3″, respectively, and Ryan’s squad has had some difficulty cleaning up the defensive glass over the past few games, as Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana were able to post a combined offensive rebounding rate of 41.3 percent. On the other end of the floor, Michigan will need to limit Wisconsin to one shot per possession as often as possible, and that should be doable – the Badgers have only grabbed 25.3 percent of their misses over that same three-game period.

Communicate Defensively: Michigan’s struggles of late have come on the defensive end of the court, and while it has yet to cost the Wolverines a game in Big Ten play, too many lapses this afternoon will do them in. Beilein noted yesterday that one of the biggest reasons this Wisconsin team is so difficult to play against is that they will start five guys who can shoot the ball from beyond the arc, post up, pass, and play defense. Three of those four traits are offensive, and for good reason.

As a team, Wisconsin shoots nearly 40 percent from downtown while individually the Badgers’ starters have each made at least 16 treys on the year at a clip of at least 35.1 percent. Big man Frank Kaminsky, listed at 7’0″, continues a Bo Ryan tradition by leading the team in three-point shooting at 47.7 percent (better than Nik Stauskas).

This afternoon, Michigan needs to know the defensive plan and execute it perfectly. As they have done almost the entire season, the Wolverines will likely once again switch every ball screen, but any miscommunication that leaves a man open from deep will be lethal. What makes Wisconsin so difficult to guard, though, is that as soon as their opponents get too caught up in stopping the three-ball, the Badgers will take it to the lane or post up for easy one-on-one buckets. Excellent man defense will be an absolute requirement for Michigan to fly back to Ann Arbor with an unblemished Big Ten record.

Bring the Energy: Last year, Michigan had all but sealed a win at Wisconsin until Ben Brust banked in a half-court shot at the buzzer to send the game into an ill-fated overtime, and a couple years before that, Josh Gasser hit a game-winning three off the backboard as time expired at Crisler Arena. Tomorrow, the Wolverines need to stick together, play hard on every possession, and not dwell on past misfortune.

Stauskas indicated yesterday that he still thinks about the heartbreaking loss at Wisconsin a season ago and that he wants to prove that Michigan belongs in the elite ranks of the Big Ten. If Michigan can withstand the crowd and a Wisconsin team that is equally good now in hurrying up or slowing down (they have scored 70-plus points in eight straight games), it should be a dog fight. Mitch McGary will again not make the trip as he recovers from back surgery, and his loss will certainly be felt on the bench where he provided so much energy, but the rest of his teammates know the task at hand.

Prediction: A game at Wisconsin always seems to be one that looks increasingly winnable on paper but feels impossible based on prior knowledge. Michigan has certainly played some competitive games at the Kohl Center recently and should again be able to make a contest of it tomorrow, but Wisconsin is so good at home that it is hard to see a Wolverine victory. I think the Maize and Blue carry a lead into halftime but fail to withstand a smooth-shooting, veteran Wisconsin squad and ultimately lose, 71-64.

Wisconsin 65 – Michigan 62 OT: Half court heave dooms Michigan

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Final 1st 2nd OT Total
#3 Michigan (21-3, 8-3) 29 31 2 62
Wisconsin (17-7, 8-3) 28 32 5 65

This is what it's like for Michigan in the Kohl Center (Andy Manis, AP)

Tim Hardaway Jr’s three-pointer with three seconds to play seemed to have ended Michigan’s 13-year futility in Madison. It gave the Wolverines a three point lead and left Wisconsin needing to go the length of the court in 2.1 seconds. But the inbounds pass hit Ben Brust on a curl at midcourt and he took one dribble and heaved it towards the rim. Just as one would expect in Madison, it found nothing but net and sent the game into overtime.

In the extra period, Michigan was unable to find any offense, scoring just two points and missing a couple of layups that could have made the difference. Just like in regulation, it was Brust who hit the big shot, this time a three from several feet behind the three-point line to give the Badgers a three point lead.

After Michigan couldn’t score, the Wolverines were forced to foul, but Ryan Evans missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Michigan one final chance. But just like at Ohio State, Trey Burke’s three rattled in and out and the Wolverines were sent home from the Kohl Center in defeat yet again.

From the start, it was evident that Michigan was in for a dogfight as Wisconsin opened up a nine point lead by the under-eight time out. But Michigan went on a 9-1 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes to pull within one, and then a pair of Burke jumpers gave Michigan a one-point lead heading into the locker room.

Wisconsin took the lead back in the early part of the second half, but Michigan built a 55-49 lead with 6:31 left to play. From that point, the Wolverines were held scoreless until Burke hit a shot at the 1:06 mark. Michigan led 57-54. Wisconsin big man Jared Berggren beat Mitch McGary off the dribble and dunked over Burke who tried the draw the charge. He was called for a block, sending Berggren to the line for a chance to tie the game. He made the free throw which led to the end of regulation heroics by Hardaway and then Brust.

Burke led Michigan with 19 points, but it took him 21 shots to do so. He hit just 2-of-8 three-point attempts. Hardway finished with 18 on 8-of-17 shooting. McGary had another good game, scoring 12 points and grabbing eight rebounds. He showed the ability to hit the mid-range jumper that will make him tough to defend if he can do so consistently.

As a team, Michigan shot just 39.4 percent from the field and 27.8 percent from downtown. Wisconsin, a poor shooting team, made nearly 44 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three-point range. For the second game in a row Michigan had trouble getting to the free throw line, this time attempting just two after shooting none against Ohio State.

Michigan missed a golden opportunity to sieze control of the Big Ten race, and now finds itself staring down a must win on the road against Michigan State on Tuesday night.

Final Game Stats
01 Glenn Robinson III* 2-6 0-1 0-0 1 2 3 2 4 0 0 0 2 33
15 Jon Horford* 1-4 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 2 2 0 1 0 0 7
03 Trey Burke* 8-21 2-8 1-2 0 5 5 2 19 4 1 0 2 40
10 Tim Hardaway Jr.* 8-17 2-3 0-0 0 4 4 4 18 3 1 0 0 37
11 Nik Stauskas* 2-7 1-5 0-0 2 5 7 1 5 3 3 0 0 39
02 Spike Albrecht 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 11
04 Mitch McGary 6-10 0-0 0-0 2 6 8 1 12 1 0 1 3 32
23 Caris LeVert 0-3 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 8
44 Max Bielfeldt 1-3 0-0 0-0 2 2 4 0 2 1 0 0 0 48
Totals 28-71 5-18 1-2 11 28 39 13 62 12 7 1 8 205
Wisconsin 25-57 10-24 5-10 7 32 39 8 65 14 14 5 4 205