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Juwan Howard hasn’t given up hope on his team yet after loss to Rutgers

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The questions certainly don’t get easier as the season progresses.

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Following Michigan’s 75-57 defeat to Rutgers last night, Juwan Howard took the stand at the post-game press conference. In unprecedented times such as these, Howard was able to remain calm, cool and collected when discussing his team’s struggles so far this season. He was generally proud of his team’s effort, despite being shorthanded due to Covid and other issues.

The Wolverines have generally been pretty good at defending the three-point line. However, last night that was not the case as the Scarlet Knights shot 11-for-23 from behind the arc, five of which being from Ron Harper Jr. It’s tough to win games when you hit just three three-pointers while your opponent hits 11.

“They hit some bombs from deep,” Howard said “Some deep, deep threes. And they hit them early and that generated some within those players as well got the fans into it. There were also some times where we did have a defensive breakdown to allow some of those threes. Those are teachable moments, and we’ll continue to keep teaching and growing, and I trust we will get better in those areas. We will learn how to finish games.”

On the other side of the floor, the Wolverines only shot 3-of-15 from long distance. Only Caleb Houstan took more than two shots from deep but Houstan was a staggering 1-of-8 from three and 4-of-13 from the field overall. Michigan is now shooting just 34% from three on the season, good for 10th in the Big Ten and 138th nationally. This is a far cry from last year when the Wolverines had the fifth highest three-point percentage of any team that made the NCAA Tournament. Howard had this to say when asked about the three-point shooting struggles:

“We don’t focus on three-point shooting or whatever, we just try and play a solid game. When I look at the stats, I see that we took care of the basketball. We only had eight turnovers and that’s big right there and that’s why I see growth.”

Howard also received a few questions about adversity and he chose to respond by gushing praise on his veteran leadership. Here’s the full quote on Eli Brooks:

“I feel like we have the best leader in college basketball in Eli Brooks. That guy is our leader. He’s been our leader last year. He’s taken on that role in assembling his teammates. His teammates love him because he’s like another coach out the floor and in practice. He gives so much to the team, night in and night out, every day in practice with his effort, his voice. He knows the system. He knows what we ask of our players from the offensive and defensive end. He also knows what his job and responsibility is too.”

Say what you will about this year’s Michigan team, but their coach has certainly not given up hope.

Next up for Michigan is a rivalry game with Michigan State at Crisler on Saturday afternoon. The game can be seen at 2:30 p.m. on Fox.