The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one game last week, and they lost it. On Thursday (02/12/2015), they lost at Illinois 64-52, in overtime. The loss drops Michigan’s record to 13-12 (6-7 in the Big Ten).
This was a particularly frustrating loss, since UM had a 7-point lead (50-43) with about 3 minutes left in the game, and didn’t score again until they hit 2 free throws in the final minute of the OVERTIME! That’s right, they got outscored 7-0 in the last 3 minutes of regulation, to force overtime, then they were outscored 14-2 in the overtime. Coming so soon after a similar overtime disaster vs. MSU a couple weeks ago, where they were outscored 10-0 in overtime, it was almost too much to handle. How can a team play well enough to take (#6) Wisconsin to overtime in Ann Arbor, and force overtimes in East Lansing and Champaign, then fall apart so thoroughly in their last 3 overtime periods? It’s just so frustrating. The basketball gods hate Michigan this season.
The stats for the game are a little deceptive, since they include the horrible overtime. Michigan shot terribly overall (21-for-57 = 36.8%), including 0-for-5 in overtime. They shot 3-pointers even more terribly (4-for-17 = 23.5%), including 0-for-3 in overtime. The only thing they did well was shoot free throws (6-for-6 = 100.0%). They lost the rebounding battle (39-34) and the turnover battle (12-7). It was just a miserable game.
Individually, only one starter (Spike Albrecht) hit double figures, with 13 points. The other starters didn’t do much: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (6 points), Kameron Chatman (2 points), Ricky Doyle (2 points), and Zak Irvin (8 points).
The only other UM player to hit double figures was Max Bielfeldt, with 12 points. The rest of the bench didn’t help much: Aubrey Dawkins had 9 points, and Andrew Dakich and Sean Lonergan both played, but didn’t attempt a shot. Mark Donnal and Austin Hatch didn’t play.
The beat goes on. Michigan has now lost 4 games in a row, and 5 of their last 6 games. This week, Michigan plays two games. On Tuesday (02/17/2015, 9:00 p.m., ESPN), they play Michigan State, then on Sunday (02/22/2015, 1:00 p.m., CBS), they play Ohio State. Both games are in Crisler Arena. They played MSU tough in East Lansing a couple weeks ago, before collapsing in overtime, so they stand a fighting chance in the game in Ann Arbor. On the other hand, they got blown out when they played at Ohio State earlier this season, so that game doesn’t look as promising. At this point, UM needs every win they can get in an effort to make it to the NIT. Forget the NCAA Tournament.
Check back here next week to see what happened, and why.