Things looked good in the first half for Juwan Howard and the Michigan Wolverines in East Lansing on Saturday. Optimism was flowing through halftime until very, very quickly into the second half, it wasn’t. The Wolverines collapsed in the second half and turned a four-point deficit at the half into a 16-point beatdown by the time the final buzzer sounded. Michigan now sits at 10-8 overall and is back to .500 in conference play.
In his postgame press conference, Howard was relatively critical of his team’s effort in the second half, specifically on the defensive end of the floor.
“We have to be more communicative. We also have to do a better job of limiting our mistakes, and mistakes happen when you don’t communicate the coverages,” Howard said. “And that’s what led to some of the baskets. Those are easy, correctable mistakes that happen, that’s based on fatigue. And that’s why I told our guys ‘I saw the fatigue in the first three minutes. You only get three timeouts, you can’t just burn them all at once.’”
Howard also noted the second half adjustments from the Spartans wasn’t necessarily just an X’s and O’s thing.
“I give Michigan State credit. The second half, it wasn’t anything schematically they were doing, and I’m not taking anything away from coach (Izzo) and their coaching staff. What they did was pretty unique and special, and give credit for it. They came out as the most aggressive team - the most physical team.”
Michigan will look to get back on track on Tuesday as it hosts Nebraska prior to heading to Purdue for a Saturday afternoon showdown. No rematch with the Spartans is scheduled as of yet, as the initial game in Ann Arbor was postponed.