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Michigan again looks human in victory over South Carolina

For the second game in a row, the Wolverines had to grind out a tough win.

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

After barely getting by Northwestern on the road earlier in the week, many were hoping Michigan would erase all doubts by putting away a South Carolina team entering the game just 175th in adjusted offense. Unfortunately, that was not the case as the Gamecocks held tough in a narrow Wolverine win.

The visitors scored 87 points on 1.09 points per possession, easily the highest mark surrendered by the Maize and Blue this season. Michigan again looked flat too often on defense and allowed an effective field goal rate of 55.6 percent.

The schedule may not feature many big names over the next few weeks, but the Wolverines still need to show the same tenacity against lesser-ranked opponents.

About those turnovers

South Carolina is not a pushover, coming into Saturday ranking 47th in adjusted defense. Apparently the Wolverines saw something on film that led them to believe attacking the rim with lobs would be an effective strategy. Though it worked a few times, it led to more turnovers than successes.

Overall, Michigan turned the ball over 16 times, which is a rare sight under head coach John Beilein. The sloppiness did not result in a loss, but it certainly kept the game closer than it needed to be. On a day where the three-pointers where actually falling (41.7 percent), continuously throwing the ball away for a chance at flashiness was a questionable strategy.

It really was a Poole Party

Saturday was the second annual Poole Party at Crisler Center, and the charismatic sophomore was ready to live up to the billing. Jordan Poole notched a career-high 26 points, adding four assists and five rebounds as well. The guard led the team in points — and possibly energy as well — stamping his charm on the afternoon as always.

Poole had a rough outing at Northwestern, going just 1-for-5 from deep, but he bounced back against South Carolina with a 4-for-7 effort. He is now a cool 16-for-28 behind the arc over his past five games and is the leading Wolverine from three. This is what everyone expected to see after the end of last season.

Odds and ends

Despite the turnovers, the offense had a decent afternoon by notching its highest point total of the season. Michigan recorded a 61.1 percent effective field goal rate, helped by Charles Matthews and Jon Teske, who each scored double-digit points. Teske added three more blocks to his season total and has surprisingly been one of the more consistent pieces on the team.

Ignas Brazdeikis had a rougher outing, scoring most of his points at the free throw line. While he was successful in drawing a number of fouls, he did not shoot efficiently, especially from three where he went 0-for-4. The freshman was due for a down afternoon at some point; nothing to be concerned about going forward.