The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one game this week, and they won it. On Saturday (12/21/2013), they beat Stanford 68-65 in Brooklyn (NY), in the Barclays Center as part of the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational. The win raises Michigan’s record to 7-4.
This was an important win for Michigan, after a couple close losses to good teams. Stanford came into the game with an 8-2 record, and they have lots of height and experience. This was a true “toss up” game, and if Michigan had lost it, their chances of going to the NCAA Tournament in March would have gone way down. As it is, UM still needs to win their last non-conference game (next week at home vs. Holy Cross), and then go at least 12-6 in the rugged Big Ten schedule to get to 20 wins.
The game was close the whole way. Stanford took an early 5-0 lead, but once UM got going, they took the lead (7-5) and never trailed again. They led by 3 at halftime (30-27), and pushed the lead to 10 (56-46) with 7:30 to go. Stanford came back hard, and cut the lead to 2 (64-63) with 43 seconds left, and down to 1 (66-65) with 9 seconds left, but UM hit a pair of free throws for the final margin of victory. Stanford tried a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left, but missed.
Let’s look at the stats. Michigan shot pretty poorly overall (21-for-52 = 40.4%), and they shot pretty poorly from 3-point range (8-for-27 = 29.6%). They shot poorly from the free-throw line (18-for=26 = 69.2%), and that almost cost them the game. The rebounding battle was even (32-32), but UM had more offensive rebounds (9-5), and Michigan won the turnover battle (8-12). Those 4 extra possessions were the difference in a very close game.
Individually, 3 Michigan players hit double figures:
- Zak Irvin – 12 points. Zak hit 4 big 3-pointers, on 8 attempts, and had 6 rebounds, including the crucial one on the last-second miss by Stanford.
- Glenn Robinson III – 17 points. Once again, GR3 had a big 1st half and a quiet 2nd half. He also had 6 rebounds.
- Nik Stauskas – 19 points. Nik had another rough time shooting: 4-for-11, including 2-for-7 from 3-point range.
3 other players scored, but not in double figures:
- Spike Albrecht – 5 points. Derrick Walton Jr. had another shaky game, so Spike ran the team for a good portion of the game.
- Jon Horford – 2 points. Jon had a rough night. Every time he stepped onto the floor, the refs called a foul on him. He fouled out after playing only 6 minutes. That’s amazing.
- Caris LeVert – 1 point. Caris had a miserable time shooting: 0-for-7 overall, 0-for-3 from 3-point range, and 1-for-4 shooting free throws. Ugh.
- Jordan Morgan – 8 points. Jordan also fouled out, but at least he took 24 minutes to do it.
- Derrick Walton Jr. – 4 points. Derrick played a little better in this game than he did last week vs. Arizona, but only a little. He still played like a true freshman.
Max Bielfeldt played, but did not score.
Mitch McGary didn’t play, due an array of injuries including his back and one of his ankles. Horford, Morgan, and Bielfeldt all did their best to hold the fort against Stanford’s huge front line, but they had a rough time. Horford and Morgan both fouled out, and Bielfeldt ended the game with 4 fouls. If he had fouled out, I guess GR3 would have played center for the rest of the game.
Last call for non-conference play. Michigan only plays one game this week: on Saturday (12/28/2013, 6:30 p.m., BTN) they play Holy Cross in Crisler Arena. Michigan should win this one, unless they take Holy Cross too lightly. Check back next week to see what happened, and why.