Nothing But ‘Net – Week #04 – 11/18/2019 – Two Solid Wins

UMGOBLUE.COM

The University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games this week, and they won both of them.  On Tuesday (11/12/2019), they beat Creighton 79-69, then on Friday (11/15/2019), they beat Elon 70-50.  Both games were in Crisler Arena.  Michigan’s record is now 3-0.

The Creighton game was part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, which are essentially the Big East/Big Ten Challenge.  For the second year in a row, the Big Ten won the challenge, 5-3.

The Elon game was associated with the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament that Michigan is playing in over the Thanksgiving break.  Elon is in what they call the “Mainland Bracket”, which means that they play one game “on the mainland” (as opposed to the Bahamas, where the “Championship Bracket” is played) against one of the “Championship Bracket” teams, in this case Michigan, and then they play 2 other teams in the “Mainland Bracket” at home.

What Happened?

Unlike the season opener against Appalachian State, Michigan played well for 40 minutes against two opponents this week.  They didn’t have a miserable scoring drought like they suffered in the App State game.

The Creighton game was close for the whole 1st half, with Michigan holding an 8-point lead (31-23) with 6:50 left in the half, and Creighton holding a 3-point lead (41-38) at halftime.  The game was still close with 12:27 left and UM only leading by 4 points (56-52).  Over the next 3 minutes, Michigan went on an 8-3 run to push the lead up to 9 points (64-55), and they managed to keep the lead between 5-12 points the rest of the way, winning by 10.

The Elon game was also close for most of the 1st half, with Michigan up by only 4 points (26-22) with 2:42 left in the half.  UM closed the half on a 5-0 run to push the lead up to 9 points (31-22) at halftime.  The lead was still only 8 points (34-26) with 18:45 left, when Michigan went on an 11-2 run to push the lead up to 17 points (45-28) with 15:19 left.  Elon never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way, with Michigan winning by 20.

Stats

In the Creighton game, Michigan shot very well overall (30-for-53 = 56.6%), they shot 3-pointers pretty well (9-for-23 = 39.1%), and they shot free throws very well (10-for-12 = 83.3%).  They lost the rebounding battle badly (27-38) and the turnover battle as well (11-8).  Not only did UM lose the rebounding battle, they gave up 18 offensive rebounds.  Wow.  That’s an amazing stat for a winning team.

In the Elon game, Michigan shot fairly well overall (28-for58 = 48.3%), they shot 3-pointers fairly well (7-for-23 = 30.4%), and they shot free throws decently (7-for-10 = 70.0%).  They won the rebounding battle (38-31), but lost the turnover battle (10-7).

Who Started?

In both games, the starters were Eli Brooks, Isaiah Livers, Adrien Nuñez, Zavier Simpson, and Jon Teske.

Who Looked Good?

Teske had two nice, solid games, with 17 points vs. Creighton and 16 points vs. Elon.  He also had 7 rebounds in each game.

Simpson also hit double figures in both games, with 17 and 11 points.  He had 9 assists vs. Creighton and 7 vs. Elon.

Livers only hit double figures in one game, with a team-high 22 points vs. Creighton.  He came close in the Elon game, with 9 points.

Brooks also hit double figures in one game (10 points vs. Elon) and came close in the other game (7 points vs. Creighton).

The only other player with a double figures game this week was David DeJulius, with 10 points (and 8 rebounds) vs. Elon.  He came close to double figures in the other game, with 9 points vs. Creighton.  He’s starting to be a force coming off the bench.

Nuñez had 3 and 5 points, including a 3-pointer in each game.

Brandon Johns, Jr. had 2 and 5 points, and looked OK out there.

Colin Castleton had 2 points in each game.  He looked pretty comfortable out there.

Who Looked Not-So-Good?

No one had a bad game.

Who Else Played?

The Creighton game was too close to play any of the non-mainstream players, but the Elon game was well enough in hand that C.J. Baird and Cole Bajema got in for the last minute.  Baird hit a 2-point basket.

Who Didn’t Play?

Franz Wagner still has a broken wrist, and didn’t suit up.  He’s out until at least early December.

Austin Davis was the only “regular” player who didn’t get in.

Baird played, but the rest of the practice squad (Jaron Faulds, Rico Ozuna-Harrison, and Luke Wilson) didn’t get in.

What Does It Mean?

We can’t learn much from the Elon game, but Creighton is a decent opponent, and Michigan handled them pretty well.  The really encouraging part was the mental aspect: the Michigan players didn’t panic when Creighton went ahead for a while, they just kept playing the game the way they’re supposed to.  They’re learning, and getting better.

What’s Next?

This week, Michigan only plays one game, in Crisler Arena.  On Friday (11/22/2019, 7:00 p.m., BTN-Plus), they play Houston Baptist.  Houston Baptist was 12-18 last season, and they don’t look to be much better this season.  They don’t have much height (one guy at 6’9” and another at 6’10”), and they’ve got a pretty young team.  Michigan should handle them pretty easily.

Come on down to Crisler to check out this season’s team, and stop by Sections 209-210 to say hi.

Go Blue!