The air is colder, the days are shorter, and the leaves have all but completely fallen away. That can only mean one thing: it must be basketball season once again.
The Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team started their 2022-23 campaign off on the right foot, beating Purdue Fort Wayne to the tune of 75-56.
Things started on shaky footing for both sides, as neither team hit higher than a 40% clip through the first media timeout. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, Purdue Fort Wayne’s two made baskets were for three, putting Michigan in a 4-6 deficit to begin the game.
The two-point lead would end up being short lived however after the Wolverines went on a scalding 20-2 run in the next five minutes of action, missing just one of their eight shots in that stretch. The tidal wave was capped off by a three pointer from Jett Howard that came from just past the logo, sending Crisler Center into a frenzy.
Though the Mastodons went on a hot streak of their own — making five of their next seven shots coming out of the break, the damage had already been done. As the halftime buzzer sounded, Michigan took a comfortable 40-28 lead with them into the locker room.
Statistically, Hunter Dickinson made a camp out of the painted area, scoring a team-leading 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting and three free throws while also racking up five rebounds and two blocks.
Where the first half seemingly kicked off with some jitters, the start of the second half saw the Wolverines play with seemingly no weight on their shoulders. Three of Michigan’s first four makes came off dunks by Dickinson and Kobe Bufkin, while Jett Howard and Joey Baker contributed a pair of three pointers to push the lead to 22 points.
It was Dug McDaniel who capped things off however, as he turned a tipped rebound into an electric fast break layup to go into the third media break.
While the first eight minutes saw all the momentum firmly in the favor of Michigan, the next six saw all of that come to a screeching halt. The Wolverines’ shooting suddenly went ice cold, making just one of their next ten shots.
Despite the offensive woes, Michigan prevented any significant ground from being gained as Purdue Fort Wayne could only cut the lead to 14 before the Wolverines heated back up.
The Wolverines will make a trip down I-94 to the Motor City on Friday evening, playing a neutral-site contest against Emoni Bates and the EMU Eagles at Little Caesars Arena.