Michigan 76, Iowa State 66
In its first home game in over two weeks, Michigan put together a complete game and cruised to a late 20 point lead before Iowa State added some window-dressing at the end. It was a collective effort across the board; Tim Hardaway Jr tallied 19 points, Jordan Morgan added 16, Trey Burke had 13, and Zack Novak almost got a double-double with 8 points and 11 rebounds. Michigan got off to a slow start as both teams shoot poorly, but Michigan used a strong inside presence to pull away from the Cyclones and put the game out of reach midway through the second half. Late turnovers and surprisingly good shooting from Iowa State made the end of the game interesting, but Michigan made its free throws to forestall any potential comeback.
Michigan won this game because of superior shooting, but once again, it wasn't because of three point shooting. Neither team shot above 30% from behind the arc, and Michigan made a grand total of one three point basket in the entire second half. No, it was Michigan's stellar inside play that was the most effective: the Wolverines shot 20-27 (74%) on two point field goals. Jordan Morgan and Tim Hardaway had the biggest impact -- 7-10 and 4-5 on two pointers respectively. Michigan's currently leading the nation in two point shooting percentage, and this isn't that unusual for a Beilein team. Michigan was 24th nationally last year and Beilein's best West Virginia squad was seventh. The run that sparked the stretch for Michigan to pull away from ISU came near the end of the second half as Eso Akunne nailed a big three pointer on a nice read, Hardaway threw down a dunk off of a steal, Blake McLimans converted a good pick-and-roll, Trey hit a three, and McLimans stepped out and made a three over an apathetic Royce White. Michigan used this 13-2 run to create a nine point halftime lead and wasn't seriously threatened after that.
- Jordan Morgan had one of his best games of the year. He was able to score with some post moves and a nice mid-range shot over White to go along with his obligatory wide-open dunk.
- Tim Hardaway also had a good game with a great statline: 19 points on 12 field goal attempts, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block. Outside shot isn't falling, but scoring 16 points per game without it is encouraging. He's really developed with his cutting and driving to the basket.
- Trey Burke missed his last seven three point attempts after making three of his first four, but he was very instrumental in keeping Michigan in the game early on with his big shots.
- Zack Novak had 2 points and 10 rebounds at one point during the game on Saturday, never ceasing to amaze with his uncanny rebounding ability. He finished with 8 and 11. Still, Novak struggled with a much bigger four in Royce White.
- Evan Smotrycz is still running hot-and-cold. 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists were big, but his time on the floor was limited by his foul trouble (5 fouls in 22 minutes). If he can stop committing silly fouls, he'll be really good.
- Stu Douglass had a pretty quiet day and was limited to two points and two assists in sixteen minutes. The shot he hit was a tough pull-up jumper with the shot running down though.
- Jon Horford is being held back because of a foot injury -- he's walking around in a boot on campus -- but he's still the best offensive rebounding and shot blocking option on the team.
- Blake McLimans was the biggest beneficiary of Horford's injury, and made the most of his opportunity with five points on two shots. It was nice to see him run the offense well and hold his own on defense, although I'm not sure he'll see lots of meaningful minutes down the road.
- Eso Akunne is starting to look like he'll be a contributor on this team. He isn't a flashy playmaker, but he's a vocal leader in practice and runs the offense well enough to spell Trey when he needs a rest. The three when the defender tried to go under the screener was textbook.
Tempo-free graphs after the jump...