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Takeaways from Michigan’s overtime loss to Oregon

McDaniel has a new career-high, but Michigan loses a heartbreaker.

Syndication: The Register Guard Chris Pietsch/The Register Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK

In a loss that felt all too familiar after last season’s late-game struggles, the Michigan Wolverines lost in overtime in Eugene to a shorthanded Oregon team, 86-83.

The Oregon Ducks, who are joining the Big Ten next season, were picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 in the preseason media poll. They were 4-2 entering this contest, with their last game being an eight-point loss to No. 17 Alabama.

The Ducks were pretty banged up for this game; three of their five leading scorers going into this game (center N’Faly Dante, center Nate Bittle and guard Jesse Zarzuela) didn’t play. Despite that, Oregon was able to get buckets consistently and outscored the Wolverines in overtime to earn the win.

Here are some takeaways from a heartbreaking loss, as the Wolverines fall to 4-4.

Inconsistency on defense is this team’s biggest issue

Even against an Oregon team missing three of its five leading scorers, the Wolverines could not consistently get stops.

This has been a constant issue for the Wolverines all season long; their on-ball defense is lackluster, their rotations are about a half-step slow, and teams always seem to get open threes against them because they don’t close out very well.

I will give them credit — they defend well around the rim. Both Olivier Nkamhoua (12 points, five rebounds) and Will Tschetter (eight points) forced key stops in this one by moving their feet and using their length to their advantage. And Nkamhoua had the best defensive play of the game when he stole the inbounds pass with 24 seconds left in regulation, but missing one of his two free throws was brutal.

Inconsistency on defense has been this team’s Kryptonite, on top of the late-game struggles on offense from last season still persisting. They have to clean things up on that end of the floor if they want to avoid missing the tournament for the second season in a row.

Dug McDaniel shines yet again, but the rest of Michigan’s offense was lacking

I feel like I’ve written about this in almost every takeaways piece, but McDaniel was exceptional offensively, scoring a career-high 33 points while grabbing four rebounds and dishing three assists.

He was on fire from three in the second half, making his first five attempts from beyond the arc. He had 24 points in the second half alone, 11 more points than the next-leading scorer for the Wolverines (Nimari Burnett with 13) had the entire game.

Michigan never got into a great rhythm offensively and settled for a lot of contested jumpers, but the scoring spark from McDaniel kept this one close throughout. He really did put the team on his back.

Got to take care of the ball better

The Wolverines got crushed in the turnover battle. They had nearly double the turnovers (16) as the Ducks did (nine), and Oregon scored 18 points off those turnovers.

Michigan has been sloppy with the ball all season long, and this game was no different. This offense has the potential to be great; we saw how good they can look in the win over St. John’s. McDaniel was great, but this offense’s ceiling is lowered drastically when they turn the ball over this many times.

Jaelin Llewellyn returns

The veteran point guard made his season debut in this one, 363 days after tearing his ACL in London in a loss to Kentucky. It’s been a long recovery, and Llewellyn got an extra year after his medical redshirt was approved in the spring.

As I covered in his preseason profile, Llewellyn is an important player for this team who can provide stability off the bench as an experienced third guard. He looked good in limited minutes in this one, scoring two points and dishing two assists in 10 minutes.

Having Llewellyn back in the rotation is a huge positive for Michigan.

Up next

It’s hard to believe it’s already here, but the Wolverines kick off Big Ten play on Tuesday. They host the Indiana Hoosiers at 9 p.m. on Peacock.

After that win against St. John’s, the Wolverines have lost four of their last five games. They could really use a win to kick off conference play to get back on track.