It was not always pretty for the Michigan Wolverines on Friday night in the game against the visiting Elon Phoenix, but they were able to move to 3-0 on the young season with a 70-50 win.
Jon Teske led the team in scoring with 16 points and seven rebounds. Zavier Simpson had 11 points, while David DeJulius and Eli Brooks had 10 points each. Isaiah Livers had nine pints and five rebounds.
Michigan shot 48 percent on the night and was 28-for-58 from the floor and 7-for-23 from three-point range. Its largest lead of the night was 22 points.
Elon came into this game as a team that KenPom projects to go 8-22 on the season, so Michigan was far from hosting a world-beater in this game. Turnovers and poor shooting kept this game close early, but Michigan was able to pull away at the end of the first half to take a 31-22 lead and never look back. Elon would try to get close by cutting the lead to 11 a handful of times in the second half, but the Wolverines would coast and finish the game with the score at 70-50.
Here are some of the takeaways from Friday night’s contest. We do not come out of this one with many more answers to questions we have, especially as it was kind of more of the same. But there are a few things worth pointing out.
- Things that happen in one game in a vacuum cannot be taken too seriously in basketball. Things that happen in two games become a trend. Things that happen in three games become a habit, and the Wolverines have some good and bad ones going early on in Juwan Howard’s debut season. The biggest positive to this point is the player progression and development, which was something that was a big question mark coming into this year. Everyone on this current roster seems like they have improved throughout the offseason as they develop into their new roles. The steps forward from Brooks and DeJulius are the biggest examples of this. On a team desperate for offense on the wing coming into the year, both of them have shown plenty capable of heating up and providing points in bunches and they certainly do not lack the confidence.
- As far as nitpicky negatives go, turnovers and rebounds were a bit of a problem early, as had been the case on Tuesday night against Creighton, a team that was also undersized compared to Michigan. Things evened out on the boards, but the Wolverines did lose the turnover battle on the evening. After turning it over seven times in the first half, Michigan had only three in the final 20 minutes of play. That’s something they will look to build off of.
- To expand on Brooks and DeJulius a bit, those two breaking out is a best-case scenario for this team with Franz Wagner set to return in a few weeks. Suddenly, you have got some depth and scoring on the wing and it gives them the ability to take things slowly with Wagner as he works his way back to the floor.
- This was the first night that we saw Cole Bajema get onto the floor for the Wolverines. As of now, he would be the ninth man in an eight-man rotation. CJ Baird also received time down the stretch.