Michigan Basketball was short-handed in their big man rotation again on Sunday, but it would not wind up mattering. On Star Wars Day at Crisler Center, the Wolverines (15-0, 4-0 B1G) walked out of the arena with their undefeated record still in tact with a 74-63 win over the visiting Indiana Hoosiers (12-3, 3-1 B1G).
Charles Matthews and Jordan Poole led the Wolverines in scoring, each with 18 points, but it was the breakout of a potential future star that was the story of the game. Thrust into the lineup for extended minutes, true freshman Brandon Johns had the breakout game so many fans were looking for, finishing with eight points and eight rebounds in 10 minutes of action.
The first half saw the game tied for only 18 seconds before Michigan took the lead and never looked back through the first 30 minutes of play. The two teams would trade blows for the first few minutes with the Wolverines taking an 11-9 lead, but from there would go on a 12-0 run to take a 23-9 lead. The deficit would go as high as 19 points with the Wolverines at one point taking a 32-13 lead before heading into the locker room with the score at 44-29. Matthews and Poole had 16 and 12 points, respectively, in the opening half.
The second half saw water find its level a bit and Indiana claw back and get the lead back to single digits a handful of times. Foul trouble at the center position gave Johns a chance to shine, and shine he did.
Isaiah Livers (back spasms) was ruled “doubtful” for the game prior to the contest after missing Thursday’s game against Penn State. In his absence, Michigan would turn to Austin Davis and Johns in the first half for extended run, where both performed admirably and kept the Wolverines ahead.
Next up for the Wolverines is a Thursday night trip to Champaign to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini. That game is set for an 8 p.m. ET tipoff and will be broadcast via Fox Sports 1.