In their final out-of-conference game of 2022–23, the Michigan Wolverines were the victims of a stunning 63-61 upset to the Central Michigan Chippewas.
Here’s how the game broke down for Michigan:
At first tip, it looked like it’d be a cruise control kind of a game for Michigan. The Wolverines kept the Chippewas to a sub-40% field goal percentage and an even more dismal 17% three point percentage through the first two timeouts. What kept Central Michigan at the Wolverines’ heels for much of the first half was Michigan’s own up-and-down shooting problems — making six of their first nine shots, than scoring just two of their next 10.
Eventually however, the shooting woes of the Wolverines proved too much for the defensive effort to prop up. Entering the final minute, the Chippewas tied the game at 24 a piece, before taking the lead outright in the final 30 seconds. It took a three pointer from Joey Baker to save the lead headed into the locker room, but the score was razor thin at just 28-27.
Statistically, Jett Howard led the team with nine points, while Terrence Williams II led the rebounding efforts with four boards in the half.
Despite Michigan jumping out to a six point lead in the first two minutes, the beginning of the second half quickly became a back-and-forth affair, with neither team being able to push the margin to more than three in their favor for nearly eight minutes of game time after. At almost exactly the mid-way point of the half, Central Michigan was able to finally break the stalemate, pushing their lead to five.
Even this lead wasn’t built to last though, as the Wolverines quickly tied it up off the backs of an and-1 bucket by Kobe Bufkin on the fast break and a second chance effort by Hunter Dickinson. The Chippewas simply refused to go away however, and it took Michigan until just under two minutes and thirty seconds left in the game to finally get back in front by just one point.
That single point ended up not being enough. With 11.6 seconds left in the game, CMU guard Reggie Bass sank a dagger three pointer to rip the lead back to the Chippewas’ territory. Though Michigan made an attempt at a comeback, it was batted away by the Central Michigan defense, ending the game at 63-61.
Statistically, Kobe Bufkin finished as the scoring leader with 16 points, while Hunter Dickinson finished as the boards leader with six.
With the out of conference scheduled wrapped up, the Wolverines begin their Big Ten season in earnest on New Year’s Day, when they face the Maryland Terrapins at Crisler Center.