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Takeaways from Michigan’s win over Maryland

It was one of the most complete games the Wolverines have played this year.

Maryland v Michigan Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

After COVID cancellations and a few tough losses, the Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team got their first win in a month last night, beating the Maryland Terrapins, 83-64.

The Wolverines got off to a great start defensively and never looked back, forcing four turnovers in the first six minutes and 10 takeaways in the first half while the Terrapins shot only 30% from the field.

The shooting woes and stagnant offense that have caused Michigan problems all season did not rear their ugly heads in the win. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that shooting nearly 60% from the field and 40% from three will lead to great things in college basketball.

Michigan could do anything it wanted inside, dominating the battle on the boards (32-20) with Hunter Dickinson and Moussa Diabate owning the paint. Dickinson was especially dominant against the school that famously didn’t recruit the DMV prospect, putting on a clinic in the post, drawing so much attention as the game went on and passing out of double teams to find guys open all over the floor.

In his first game back, Michigan’s offensive centerpiece played his butt off and lead the team with 21 points, six rebounds and a season-high six assists in the win.

Caleb Houstan was the beneficiary of many of those passes out of double teams, going for 16 points while making six of his seven shots and three of his four threes in one of the best performances of his young Michigan career. He has struggled with finding an offensive rhythm and building confidence this season, but he played like a first round pick in this game.

Senior point guard DeVante’ Jones has had more than a few up-and-down performances of his own this year, but he spoke highly of the freshman shooter in postgame, with his teammates hoping to instill confidence in Houstan.

“Keep shooting. You’re probably the best shooter on the team,” Jones said he told Houstan when he was struggling earlier in the year. “We believe in you. We’re going to keep giving you the rock. Just keep showing confidence because we feel like you’re probably one of the best shooters in the country.’ We keep feeding him. When he’s open, he’ll knock it down.”

Jones (12 points, four assists) and Diabate (14 points, six rebounds) had good games of their own, leading Michigan to an easy win thanks to a balanced offensive attack.

The play of Frankie Collins off the bench also turned a few heads, as the young point guard looked great in transition and was on the receiving end of a alley-oop that helped Michigan regain momentum as Maryland tried to climb back into the game in the second half.

It’s a small sample size but over 15 games, Collins has been a nice little spark plug off the bench. His blazing speed, offensive savvy and defensive intensity should get Michigan fans excited for him to eventually take the reigns as the starting point guard.

It doesn’t seem hyperbolic to say this was Michigan’s most complete performance of the season and while Maryland is far from an elite opponent, there hasn’t been a lot for this young team to rally around.

After all the COVID cancellations and a few tough conference losses, hopefully the Wolverines got a huge confidence boost from this win that can carry them through conference play.

The next game for the Wolverines is this Sunday, as they’ll travel to Bloomington to face the Indiana Hoosiers on Sunday. That game will be broadcast on CBS, with tip-off set for 3:30 p.m.