It’s been a while since a John Beilein offense played a half as bad as the one it did Thursday night. You'd have to go back to year one.
Beilein’s first team ended its season with a 16-point second-half outing versus Wisconsin to lose 51-34 in the 2008 Big Ten Tournament. Just 11 years later, history repeated itself.
The Wolverines (30-7) scuffled to 16 points again in the first half against Texas Tech, falling behind by eight in the West Regional Sweet 16 matchup in Anaheim (Calif.). The Red Raiders (29-6) never looked back, advancing to their second-straight Elite 8 with a 63-44 victory.
It wasn't for lack of defense on Michigan’s part. Charles Matthews held Jarrett Culver, a top-5 hopeful in this summer’s NBA Draft, to just six first-half points on 10 shots. The Red Raiders shot just 33 percent in the first frame, as well.
The problem was the other side of the court. Michigan’s offense was completely erased by the nation’s No. 1 efficiency offense. The Wolverines shot just 32.7 percent overall, with just 16 made field goals. John Beilein’s group uncharacteristically coughed up 13 turnovers.
C.J. Baird made a three in the final minutes. All other 18 attempts missed the mark.
Ignas Brazdeikis led the way with just 17 points on 15 shots, also grabbing 13 rebounds. Charles Matthews chipped in 12 points, but recorded five giveaways.
This was a 4 on 5 trip down the floor for Texas Tech. Down a guy, didn’t matter. pic.twitter.com/xXHhE6qK94— Justin Rose (@JRoseWXYZ) March 29, 2019
Texas Tech essentially put the game out of reach in the second half, stretching the lead to 18 with a 12-2 run before the media timeout. Italian sophomore guard Davide Moretti drained all three of his 3-pointers for 15 points.
Culver eventually broke free to lead the way with 22 points and 4 assists.
A 6-point swing in the second half tells you all you need to know about this one: Zavier Simpson found Isaiah Livers wide open in the left corner, only for the shot to roll out. A few possessions later, Red Raiders freshman Kyler Edwards hit a fadeaway triple with a man in his grill.
It just wasn’t Michigan’s night. On one end, the season ended with disappointing losses in the Sweet 16, as well as a sweep to Michigan State. On the other hand, it was Beilein’s third 30-win season, complete with revenge routs over Villanova and North Carolina.
It’s expected, but not official, that Matthews will depart for the NBA. Otherwise, a core of Simpson, Jordan Poole, Isaiah Livers, Brazdeikis and Jon Teske return. Find a few more consistent shooters, and Luke Yaklich’s defense can combine with a vintage Beilein defense.
There’s over 200 days for Beilein and company to figure that out.