After scoring just 3 points in Michigan’s Big Ten Tournament loss to Ohio State and zero points in the first round victory over Texas Southern, it appeared that guard Chaundee Brown was in a slump.
Then came Monday night versus LSU.
With Isaiah Livers out indefinitely, Michigan needed Brown to produce in a big way, and in a big way he did.
Brown notched 21 points, the most he’s ever scored in the maize and blue. Michigan was plus-19 when Brown was on the floor. His offensive assault and stout defense was a major factor in toppling the Tigers 86-78. Brown scored 12 of 14 Michigan points during a 14-1 run that gave Michigan a 72-64 lead with just under six minutes to go.
“You know what you’re going to get with Chaundee every single day,” guard Eli Brooks said. “He brings a lot of energy. It was good to see him make some shots because that smile goes a long way for the team. His energy, his presence, it helps the team. It brings the defense to a higher level.”
For head coach Juwan Howard, he knew Brown’s recent slump was deceiving and he was still impacting the team in a variety of positive ways. Howard called Brown a player who has been “rock steady all season long”. The night Brown had against LSU was no surprise to Howard.
“Tonight Chaundee had it going. There are guys like Mike who last game had 18, today had 5. Keep in mind, I’m not the one focused on or caring about the points. My focus is how you impact winning,” Howard said. “Mike (Smith) impacted winning today on so many things that he did that does not show up in a box score. That’s how Chaundee has been all season long for us. He’s been doing a lot of special things to help us win.”
For Brown, he came into the game with an aggressive mindset, aided by his coaches instilling confidence in the seasoned senior.
“I just come in and be aggressive,” Brown said, who made three 3-pointers. “My coaches told me before that this is my game, just come and play the game of basketball. I had a talk with myself before the game. I pray before every game. I told myself to ‘Be you, and great things will happen.’”
Brown and Michigan are hoping more great things will happen next Sunday when they take on Florida State in the Sweet Sixteen.