Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wolverines push past Nebraska, remain undefeated for showdown in Columbus

Quick Recap: On a night when Michigan did not play its best basketball, the Wolverines put forth a gritty performance to outmuscle the Nebraska Cornhuskers 62-47. Neither team shot over 40% from the field, but the size, length, physicality, and toughness of the Wolverines allowed them to outwork their opponent as Michigan attempted 19 more free throws than the Cornhuskers. Michigan is now 3-0 in the Big Ten and 16-0 overall, matching the best start in school history, set in the 1985-1986 season.

Player of the Game: Tim Hardaway Jr. put the team on his back on both ends of the floor tonight, scoring 15 points while adding 11 rebounds. He also spent most of the game guarding Nebraska’s best player, Dylan Talley, holding him to 4 of 12 shooting good for only 12 points. Hardaway showed the progress he’s made from last year, as most of his shot attempts were taken on drives to the basket as opposed to jump shots.

Game Changing Moment: With Michigan leading 45-39 with just under 8 minutes left in the game, Glenn Robinson III came up with two thunderous dumps on consecutive possessions. The first dunk occurred on an uncontested breakaway following a steal. On the following possession, Robinson was untouched in his put-back dunk off of a Caris LeVert missed 3-pointer. These dunks effectively ended the game, as the crowd erupted and Michigan carried that energy to the finish line.

Negatives: There was a lot of ugly in this game. Michigan shot 17-26 from the free throw line. Trey Burke was not as effective moving the ball and controlling the offense in his usual manner, as he was held to only 3 assists. Jordan Morgan had zero points and took only 1 shot. Michigan’s 38.9% shooting against a lower-tier Big Ten team is a concern, especially since they have lead the country in offensive efficiency thus far this year.

Big Picture: Despite that, this was one of Michigan’s best defensive performances of the year, as Nebraska shot only 34% from the field. The offense also remained turnover free, committing only 4 turnovers. It was encouraging to see the Wolverines grind out a win on a night when they did not play their best basketball. They will need a better effort on Sunday in Columbus. Beat Ohio.

No comments: