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Posts Tagged ‘Reggie Hearn’

Michigan 68 – Northwestern 46: Wolverines leave no doubt in rout

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Final 1st 2nd Total
#1 Michigan (20-1, 7-1) 36 32 68
Northwestern (12-10, 3-6) 21 25 46

GRIII threw down an alley-oop dunk from Trey Burke to ignite the Michigan win (Gregory Shamus, Getty Images)

Not quite one month ago in Evanston, Illinois, the Michigan Wolverines opened up the Big Ten season in grand fashion, storming out of the gates to take down the home-court Northwestern Wildcats by a whopping 28 points. Tonight, Northwestern had the opportunity for revenge. That opportunity, that dream, lasted all of about seven minutes.

With 12:53 remaining in the first half, Glenn Robinson III threw down what has now become a standard alley-oop from Trey Burke to take an 18-11 lead, forcing Northwestern coach Bill Carmody to call his second timeout in just over a two minute span and sucking up what remaining life Northwestern ever had entering Ann Arbor. Unfortunately for Northwestern, that timeout didn’t change the tide of the game much, as Trey Burke scored the next four points himself to help lead the Wolverines to an 18-10 run to end the half.

No one really had any doubt as to what the outcome of this game would be, but the way Michigan continues to win is still impressive. It is increasingly evident that Beilein has four top-notch scorers at his disposal, depth at just about every position, and a team full of players who have bought into his system and play for each other. Trey Burke could go out and score 25 points a night on 20 shots to boost his Draft stock if he wanted to, but instead he consistently has games like tonight – 18 points on 11 shots, eight assists to just one turnover, four rebounds, two steals, and a handful of nice defensive plays that won’t show up in the box score.

This team is, well, just that – a team. Perhaps no play all season embodied that sentiment as well as one tonight early in the first half, when Trey Burke received a long pass from under the basket for an open look from the corner. Instead of shooting, however, Burke made a quick pass to his right, finding Tim Hardaway, Jr. even more wide open for a wing three. For a guy shooting 41 percent from downtown on the year, this was a great shot. So what did he do? He made the extra extra pass, this time to freshman Nik Stauskas, the team’s leading three-point shooter, on the other wing. The Canadian sharpshooter buried the three, of course. With three excellent passes that led to ultimately to the best shot Michigan could get in that possession, the Wolverines again proved that they play more as a team than as individuals. They truly want to win ball games more than they want to inflate their own stats.

In all honesty, that might have been the best look Michigan will get all season. Stauskas, a guy shooting over 50 percent again from downtown, would have had time to tie his shoes and run to the concession stands before a Wildcat would have had the chance to get a hand in his face on the three. The crowd knew it was going down, too, as you could hear the anticipation build from Burke’s pass to Hardaway and then finally from the veteran to the newbie.

Another supremely encouraging aspect of tonight’s game was Michigan’s apparent dedication on the defensive end of the floor. Every college basketball fan in America knows by this time that Michigan can score the ball, but questions remain as to how well the Maize and Blue can prevent its opposition from scoring. For the night, at least, Michigan showed that it is capable of putting forth the necessary effort on both ends of the court, holding Northwestern to a horrid 37.3 percent mark from the field and just 21.1 percent from downtown.

Northwestern's guards had trouble keeping Burke in front of them all night (Gregory Shamus, Getty Images)

David Sobolewski and Reggie Hearn, the two healthy Wildcats that lead the team in scoring, combined to score just 12 points on 15 shots, as freshman big man Alex Olah was the only one in purple able to break the double-digit barrier with 10 points. It still took him 10 shots to get there though.

For Michigan, Burke led the way yet again on offense, but he was joined by Glenn Robinson III, Stauskas, and Jon Horford in scoring double figures. Horford was perhaps most impressive, as he finally displayed the potential every Michigan fan has been yearning to see in his first start of the season. Filling in for an injured Jordan Morgan, Horford put up a very respectable stat line of 10 points (3-of-5 FG, 4-of-5 FT), seven rebounds, and three blocks in 20 minutes and proved to be Michigan’s best interior defender tonight by a long shot. His back-to-the-basket game is easily the most refined out of all the post players, and his length contributes to his great rebounding and block numbers. Obviously Horford is still working his way back into the lineup, and Mitch McGary will continue to demand 15-18 minutes per game, but all of a sudden Jordan Morgan’s absence is not all that worrisome.

Lastly, Beilein has to be pleased with the way Michigan was able to play smart tonight and hold onto the ball. The Wolverines didn’t turn the ball over a single time in the first half, and only twice in the second, and although Northwestern coughed it up just six times themselves, there is not a team in the country that will consistently beat Michigan when they hold onto the ball like that.

With this sleeper game out of the way, Michigan can now place all of its focus on the looming night game matchup in Bloomington this Saturday. The Hoosiers rolled Purdue in West Lafayette tonight and will enter the game as the third-ranked team in the country. The winner of that game will have an early leg-up on the Big Ten championship race and will likely enter next week as the number one team in the country. A Michigan win would continue to solidify the team’s elite status.

By now, however, there isn’t much more to prove in the regular season. Michigan is elite, and, win or lose on Saturday, the Wolverines have all the makings of a conference champion and a titan in March. With the reigns of the team in Burke’s hands, this carriage is staying well on course.

Final Game Stats
01 Glenn Robinson III* 6-7 1-3 0-2 0 2 2 0 13 0 0 0 0 34
15 Jon Horford* 3-5 0-0 4-5 1 6 7 2 10 0 0 3 0 20
10 Tim Hardaway Jr.* 3-10 1-2 0-0 1 1 2 1 7 3 0 0 1 36
03 Trey Burke* 6-11 1-3 5-6 1 3 4 3 18 8 1 0 2 34
11 Nik Stauskas* 4-8 3-5 0-1 0 1 1 0 11 2 0 0 0 35
02 Spike Albrecht 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 4
04 Mitch McGary 2-4 0-0 2-2 3 8 11 2 6 0 1 0 0 15
05 Eso Akunne 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 2
13 Matt Vogrich 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
20 Josh Bartelstein 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
22 Blake McLimans 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
23 Caris LeVert 0-0 0-0 1-2 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 9
32 Corey Person 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
44 Max Bielfeldt 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Totals 25-49 6-15 12-18 7 24 31 9 68 14 2 3 3 200
Northwestern 19-51 4-19 4-8 10 19 29 14 46 10 8 2 1 200

Michigan vs Northwestern quick thoughts

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

#1 Michigan vs Northwestern
Wednesday, Jan. 30 | 6:30pm ET | Big Ten Network
19-1 (6-1) Record 12-9 (3-5)
Slippery Rock 100-62
IUPUI 91-54
Cleveland State 77-47
Pittsburgh 67-62
Kansas State 71-57
NC State 79-72
Bradley 74-66
W. Michigan 73-41
Arkansas 80-67
Binghamton 67-39
West Virginia 81-66
E. Michigan 93-54
C. Michigan 88-73
Northwestern 94-66
Iowa 95-67
Nebraska 62-47
#9 Minnesota 83-75
Purdue 68-53
Illinois 74-60
Wins Texas Southern 79-49
Miss. Valley St. 81-68
FDU 80-53
Delaware State 69-50
TCU 55-31
Illinois State 72-69 OT
Baylor 74-70
Texas State 74-68
Brown 63-42
Penn State 70-54
#23 Illinois 68-54
#12 Minnesota 55-48
#15 Ohio State 56-53 Losses Maryland 57-77
Ill.-Chicago  44-50
Butler 65-74
Stanford 68-70
#2 Michigan 66-94
#9 Minnesota 51-69
Iowa 50-70
#2 Indiana 59-67
Nebraska 49-64
78.5 Points Per Game 64.2
59.2 Scoring Defense 61.5
584-for-1,146 (51.0%) Field Goal % 453-for-1,089 (41.6%)
454-for-1,124 (40.4%) Def. Field Goal % 461-for-1,117 (41.3%)
166-for-407 (40.8%) 3-point % 163-for-454 (35.9%)
129-for-414 (31.2%) Def. 3-point % 118-for-353 (33.4%)
236-for-334 (70.7%) Free Throw % 280-for-426 (65.7%)
11.8 FT Made/Game 13.3
37.0 Rebounds Per Game 32.5
29.2 Opp. Reb. Per Game 36.8
15.6 Assists Per Game 15.1
9.8 Turnovers Per Game 11.0
5.7 Steals Per Game 6.0
2.9 Blocks Per Game 3.4
G – Trey Burke (17.9)
G – Tim Hardaway Jr. (15.9)
Leading Scorer G – Reggie Hearn (14.0)
G – Drew Crawford (13.5)
F – Glenn Robinson (6.0)
F – Mitch McGary (5.7)
Leading Rebounder F – Jared Swopshire (6.6)
G – Drew Crawford (4.6)

For the first time since the Fab Five graced the streets of Ann Arbor together, the Michigan Wolverines are on top of the college basketball world after another easy win at Illinois on Sunday. Tonight, Michigan will face the first revenge match of the year as they welcome Bill Carmody’s Northwestern Wildcats to the Crisler Center.

At the beginning of January, Michigan trounced Northwestern by 28 points on the road, but the Wildcats were without their steady senior leader, Reggie Hearn, and tonight Michigan will almost assuredly be without their own veteran in Jordan Morgan. With all eyes on Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Glenn Robison III, and the rest of the gang, college basketball fans across the country wonder, will Michigan continue to cruise through the Big Ten? Here are three quick keys to the game:

1. Stay Strong in the Paint: One of Michigan’s many advantages over Northwestern should be in its ability to get in the lane on offense off the dribble and feed the big men down low. Freshman Alex Olah has been serviceable for the Cats so far, averaging 5.8 points per game to go along with 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists, but he is still adjusting to the speed of college and should have his hands full with Michigan’s bigs.

With Jordan Morgan sitting out due to a sprained ankle sustained on Sunday, John Beilein will look to Jon Horford and Mitch McGary to pick up the slack. Both Horford and McGary did an admirable job replacing Morgan on Sunday along with Max Bielfeldt, combining to score 17 points and grab 14 rebounds in 39 minutes. Another strong performance from that trio should be plenty enough. Pay special attention to who gets the starting nod tonight as well; McGary has obviously been seeing the lion’s share of minutes between him and Horford, but that is partially due to the lingering knee injury Horford has had. My money will be on Beilein to give the older and more experienced Horford the start and a few more minutes than his counterpart as Horford’s game continues to improve.

2. Focus: With the way ESPN and everyone else have been hyping up Michigan’s huge game at Indiana this Saturday, one would think that the game tonight was a scrimmage, or perhaps that Michigan didn’t even have to play at all. As we’ve all seen before, however, we know teams are most dangerous when the focus of the opposition is dwelling in the past or looking forward to the future. Perhaps no team is more dangerous in this regard than Northwestern.

Because Carmody has taught his team the rarely-heralded ways of the Princeton offense, the Wolverines need to be on guard at all times, watching for backdoor cuts, unique switches, and a variety of defensive looks. If Michigan is not focused on the game at hand, it will quickly become apparent, because Northwestern will get open shot after open shot against any team that plods around. The focus tonight will all start with Trey Burke. The sophomore All-American has certainly been putting up remarkable numbers all year, but all the more impressive is how he has molded this team into his own by playing a key role as a vocal leader as well. Coming into this season, questions abounded about who would take over for Zack Novak and Stu Douglass as leaders both on and off the court. Burke has stepped up to the challenge in every way, and even though he doesn’t wear the captain’s ‘C’, everybody on the team is looking up to one of the shortest guys alongside them.

NW's best player, Reggie Hearn, missed the game a couple weeks ago

3. Check Reggie Hearn: Northwestern doesn’t need much more motivation than it already naturally has tonight; after all, the Cats are playing on the road in the Big Ten against the number one team in the country, the same team that also already pounded them in Evanston to start the conference season. That is plenty enough right there. To add onto the already towering pile, however, Northwestern will look to senior leader and former walk-on Reggie Hearn to draw out the fire in them. Hearn had to sit out the first matchup between these two teams because of an injury, but he is fully healthy and ready to go now. The 6’4″, 210-pound guard from Fort Wayne has averaged a hair over 13 points per game since his return from injury earlier this month, including back-to-back 20-plus point efforts against Illinois and Indiana, and has been getting to the line at a torrid pace as well, averaging 7.7 attempts from the charity stripe per night in that same time period, with not one single game below four freebies. Hardaway, Jr. and Nik Stauskas will likely draw the tall task of defending Hearn throughout the night. They would be wise to stick to him closely and leave him off the line, where he has been doing the majority of his damage. Hearn is easily Northwestern’s best slasher, so if Michigan’s D can get the job done, Beilein will be pleased.

Prediction: All truth be told, Michigan could and should win this game with one eye on the calendar, but Beilein, Bacari Alexander, Lavall Jordan, and Jeff Meyer will do everything they can to keep this team from losing focus. A couple mistakes here and a couple mistakes there can be the difference between breezing through the second half and sweating it out at the line by the end of the night. I expect Burke and Hardaway, Jr. to lead the team vocally and statistically again tonight, combining for 35 points and 14 assists. Horford gets the starting nod and puts up double digits for the first time this season in a 78-63 Michigan win.