Nik Stauskas scored not a single point in Columbus on Sunday; tonight, he scored a layup a minute into the game, curling around a screen and taking it smoothly from the elbow to the basket.
The next minute and a half or so wasn't as auspicious, as the Gophers buried two relatively wide open treys to go up 6-2 while Jordan Morgan got rejected around the basket twice by Trevor Mbakwe and the Wolverines fumbled around on a possession that ended in a shot clock violation. Mitch McGary came in and hit a nice elbow jumper, so it didn't really take long for me to think that maybe McGary should get equal (if not more) run than JMo tonight.
Luckily, the cold-blooded, world destroying Tim Hardaway Jr. showed up early tonight, calmly knocking in a pair of threes to help Michigan get back to 10 all before the first tv timeout. THJ continued firing, and had amassed 12 points on 4/5 shooting by the halfway point in the first half.
Trey Burke, meanwhile, was 1/4 with 3 points at the said 10-minute mark, when he was forced to briefly step out and change jerseys after his had been both torn and bloodied in just ten minutes of play. Burke returned, wearing No. 12, and helped Michigan dash out to a 10-point lead on back-to-back transition jumpers.
Unfortunately, even with Andre Hollins sitting on the bench for a long stretch with two fouls, the Gophers stormed back, cutting the lead to two. The game became somewhat of the proverbial track meet in spots, which you would think does not play to Michigan's strengths against a supremely athletic squad like Minnesota. Yet, Michigan found itself still up, 34-28, late in the first half, despite the fact that every possession seemed to go as such: 1) THJ hits outside shot 2) Burke/Stauskas/whoever misses early shot clock/transition jumper 3) blocked shot in the paint.
There's probably an easy explanation for this, that being: Minnesota turned the ball over a whopping 10 times in the first half. Although Trevor Mbakwe's four blocks mitigated Michigan's ability to get some easy buckets down low, the Gophers were more than willing to jumpstart Michigan's transition game on numerous occasions.
Michigan: 1.22 PPP
- Burke: 4/9. 10 pts, 3 assists
- Hardaway Jr.: 6/7, 17 pts, 2 assists, 2 steals
- McGary: 3/4, 6 pts, 3 steals
- Hollins: 3/7, 8 pts, 3 rebounds
- Welch: 3/3, 8 pts, 2 steals
- Mbakwe: 2/4, 4 pts, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks