Offense ruled the day this weekend in Michigan’s 89-78 shootout victory over South Carolina.
Both teams cleared over a point per possession. The Wolverines reached 1.25, but allowed a season-high 1.1 to the Gamecocks. Luke Yaklich’s defense also yielded 36 points in the first half, another season-worst mark.
Saturday’s Top Plays understandably feature a full smorgasbord of scoring.
Charles Matthews’ spurt holds of first-half surge from SC
South Carolina entered Crisler Center with a bottom-100 shooting team. Despite averaging 48 percent from two and under 31 percent from three, the Gamecocks hit exactly half of their 62 shots on the afternoon.
The hosts needed offense to fend off the visitors. Charles Matthews utilized his elite athleticism and dogged determination to score four points in a critical first-half stretch.
The athleticism showed with his bounciness with his newfound fadeaway jumper. Later, he fought through three Gamecocks for a putback to cut the deficit to 21-20.
Isaiah Livers sinks two treys to take the lead for good
Livers is a vastly improved shooter this winter. Last season, he shot at a 34 percent clip, but he’s currently connecting on over 51 percent of his bombs.
He’s found a sweet spot on the wing, as he hit from there twice in a span of minutes. Michigan retook the lead for good because of it.
He finished with 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting (all threes).
Poole takes over in second half
Jordan Poole poured in 26 points on just 12 shots.
The height of the Poole party came in the beginning of the second half. He swished two threes, one after separating with a lunging jab step.
Fast break dunks, layups and a floater pushed the lead into double-digits. He’s entered double figures the last five games, and has swiftly gone from early season disappointment to alpha dog scorer.
Teske alley-oop pushes lead to 16
Early in the first half, Poole lobbed a pass to Jon Teske for an alley-oop layup. In the second half, Teske ferociously jammed it home to push the lead to 16.
Ever since posterizing Purdue’s Isaac Haas last year in the Big Ten Tournament, the 7-footer’s aggressiveness has been on display. Much of it was on the defensive end Saturday (three blocks and nine boards), but his 15 points came off attacking the rim.
He’s now scoring just under nine a game, but is angling towards double-digits with performances like these.
Livers with the dagger
Resembling the relentless energy of their coach, Frank Martin’s Gamecocks made one final push late in the game.
They closed the margin to nine with under three minutes to go. On the next possession, Isaiah Livers beat the shot clock with a three at the top of the key.
Unlike most of his attempts, he found the necessary space to rise and fire off the dribble. He cleared room with a forearm, stepped back and rattled the ball through the bucket.
Michigan cruised from there for the 11-point triumph.