If you were falling asleep on the couch to close out your Thanksgiving, this high-scoring affair certainly woke you up.
The Wolverines couldn’t get stops for a large portion of this, but they used a big second-half run and made some tough shots down the stretch to win this one, 83-78
Stanford was picked to finish eighth out of 12 teams in the Pac 12 in the conference’s preseason media poll. In their quarterfinal match-up, sophomore guard Benny Gleaner banked in a three-pointer to force OT, but the Cardinal still fell to the No. 20 Arkansas Razorbacks, 77-74.
After a tough loss to Memphis on Wednesday where the Wolverines struggled to score in crunch time yet again, they picked up a win after being the better team late in this one.
Here are the takeaways from the win.
A game of runs, including a massive one from Michigan
College basketball has always been a game of runs, and this contest went that way to a tee.
Both these teams shot the ball relatively well, but were rather streaky when it came to taking care of the ball. Stanford opened the second half on an 8-0 run, and Michigan responded with a 22-2 run of their own over a seven-minute stretch, capitalized by back-to-back dunks off steals for Olivier Nkamhoua (16 points, four rebounds, a steal & a block) and Tarris Reed Jr. (11 points, five rebounds, two steals & two blocks).
Stanford went on a little run of their own after that, but Michigan ultimately put this one away down the stretch with Nkamhoua and Dug McDaniel (20 points, eight assists) making some difficult shots to ice this one, while holding Stanford to zero points for a four minute stretch (4:43 to 0:25).
Michigan won this game with balanced scoring, with all five starters scoring 10 points or more. Both teams shot the ball well in this one, but Michigan was finally take command of this one once they started playing defense in the second half. Speaking of which...
This defense needs to be more consistent
With how good Michigan’s offense has been and how bad their defense has been this season, I hope y’all have been betting overs.
Stanford got off to a hot start in this one, making 10 of their first 12 shots and coming out with more energy at the start of this one. Shots were falling from everywhere for Stanford in that first half, and kept falling in the second, with Stanford going on an 8-0 run after halftime, and a 7-1 run after the massive run Michigan went on.
Through six games, there’s a number of issues with this defense; terrible closeouts, late rotations, inconsistent effort and some poor on-ball defense to name a few.
They did grab more than a few steals in that second half and played much better on that big run, but Michigan’s got a lot to work on on that end of the floor. The frustrating thing is they have the athletes and length to be a good defensive team, they just need to be more consistent when guarding opponents.
T-Will the thrill
After going 0/5 from the field and finishing with just two points the night before, Williams was a bright spot for the Wolverines offensively, making his first four shots and first three attempts from beyond the arc to lead the Wolverines with 11 points at the half. He finished this one with 17 points to go along with four rebounds.
After a tumultuous junior season, Williams has thrived in a more upbeat Michigan offense. Michigan’s got a shot to outscore any team when he’s making shots like he did in this one.
A terrible start & a run to counteract it
Perhaps it was the fact that this was a consolation game, or that the start time was delayed by more than hour, or playing late on Thanksgiving. Whatever the reason, the Wolverines lacked energy to start this one and it led to a horrendous start.
Michigan put themselves tough spot, trailing 23-9 at the 12:40 mark thanks to some piss-poor defense. A 21-5 run from 12:40 to 6:31 helped them dig out of it and take the lead, largely in part to the defensive effort improving dramatically.
That lethargic start should have never happened, and Michigan’s defensive effort remained inconsistent after this run. That said, for as bad as they played defensively, Michigan shot better than Stanford (65.5 percent vs 62.1 percent) in that first half and led by one at the break. Good offense makes up for terrible defense, I guess.
In their last consolation game, the Wolverines will take on Texas Tech, after they fell to Villanova and beat Northern Iowa on the other side of the bracket. Right now, that game is set to start at 6 p.m. on ESPNU, but after this game tipped one hour and 15 minutes after the listed time, I wouldn’t count on that.