Junior guard Eli Brooks returned to action for the Wolverines Sunday against Ohio State, but his seven points wasn’t enough. Once again, perimeter defense hurt the Wolverines. It’s tough to win when giving up 11 made three pointers.
Ohio State loves to shoot the three and has shot it well for most of the season. Today proved to be no different as they made 11-of-21 three point attempts. Andre Wesson burned the Wolverines in the first half, hitting his first three shots from the field, but Duane Washington Jr. was the man all afternoon for the Buckeyes. He shot exceptionally well from deep in his second consecutive start for the injured Kyle Young, scoring 20. On the other end, the Buckeyes did a good job of keeping the Wolverines out of the paint, forcing several contested deep shots that didn’t fall.
The Buckeyes won the rebounding battle and turnover margins slightly. Although the difference wasn’t huge, it contributed to extra possessions that gave the Buckeyes more scoring chances.
In back-to-back games, three guard lineups have killed the Wolverines. Eli Brooks helps anchor this defense, but the Buckeyes shooting was too much to overcome.
- Michigan big men have struggled to defend this season but they weren’t the reason Michigan lost today. Jon Teske and company did a pretty good job of defending Kaleb Wesson who scored 23 against them in February. Wesson’s ability to stretch the floor led to 4 three-pointers, but he only shot 1-of-9 on two point attempts today.
- Jon Teske was aggressive early but made very little impact overall. He didn’t shoot well once again and only grabbed one rebound.
- Colin Castleton played for the first time since the Rutgers game. He only was in for two minutes but made a pair of free throws and blocked a shot. He’s provided small sparks in very limited playing time.
- Zavier Simpson continued to show his ability to get in the lane and finish well. He beat his man to the hoop on several occasions and finished in his traditional, unconventional ways. He became too passive down the stretch when Michigan needed baskets the most.
- Franz Wagner was once again a bright spot for the Wolverines. He scored 18 and grabbed 10 rebounds. He was the only guy that shot well from deep though. His growth as a player is still a good sign to see going forward.
- Isaiah Livers shot poorly for the second game in a row. It’s one of those shooting slumps that every player goes through and hopefully he can get going again soon. The Wolverines need him on the offensive end in a big way.
The Wolverines still have time to turn things around and gain some momentum before the conference and NCAA tournaments. Michigan plays their final home game of the season Thursday against Nebraska at 6:30 p.m. ET. They then finish the regular season next Sunday at Maryland for a noon ET tip.