Following a long Christmas break from basketball in Ann Arbor, Michigan came out of the gates a little slow against Jacksonville.
However, that didn’t stop the Wolverines from feeding the furnace to eventually get hot and earn a 76-51 win over the Dolphins on Saturday night in the Crisler Center.
The win gave U-M (11-2, 1-1 Big Ten) its fifth straight win and sends them back into Big Ten play on a high note.
The game got off to a slow start before forward Duncan Robinson drained a triple nearly three minutes into play for the first points from either team.
Both offenses continued to stumble, but U-M’s defense held the Dolphins to just 2-of-12 shooting through the first nine minutes to post a 9-5 lead.
Out of the under eight minute timeout, Robinson would hit his second triple of the half to give the Wolverines their first double figure lead at 21-9.
U-M would extend that lead to 26-9 before J.D. Notae ended the Wolverines 10-0 run by hitting a layup with under five minutes left in the opening half.
At halftime, the Wolverines posted a 32-18 lead over the Dolphins. Robinson and Charles Matthews were tied at eight points for a team high.
U-M cleaned up their slow start shooting to 48 percent (12-of-25) and were 4-of-12 (33 percent) from beyond the arc, but had 10 turnovers in the half that led to 11 points for JU.
Notae owned 10 of the Dolphins 18 points, and as a team JU shot just 26 percent (8-of-31) from the field and 25 percent (2-of-8) from deep.
Then the Wolverines would essentially blow the game wide open with a 6-0 run that featured a pair of Matthews dunks to extend the U-M lead to 50-31 with 11 minutes to go.
U-M would never allow the Dolphins back into the game, holding a double digit lead for the remainder of regulation play.
Nine U-M players scored, four of them finished in double figures. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman finished with 20 points to lead the Wolverines in scoring, Matthews was right behind him with 18 and three highlight jams.
The Wolverines coughed up a season-high 14 turnovers but forced nine from JU. U-M shot 56 percent from the floor and 35 percent (8-of-23) from 3-point distance.
U-M out-rebounded the Dolphins 41-23, with 33 of those coming on defense. The eight offensive boards for the Wolverines led to 12 second chance points.
Head coach John Beilein said in the post game interview after the game that “We are lucky this wasn’t a Big Ten opponent, because if it were we would not have won this game”.
- Zavier Simpson and Eli Brooks combined for two points, four assists and two turnovers in 37 minutes of action. Jaaron Simmons played out the final three minutes and didn’t score.
- Moritz Wagner returned to action for the first time since he was injured against Texas. Beilein said it was his call to play. He scored seven points, all in the second half, and added six boards.
- Freshman Jordan Poole showed some range to end the game, hitting a pair of triples and a layup to earn 10 points for his fifth game in double figures scoring this season.
- U-M is a perfect 8-0 at the Crisler Center this season.