[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Michigan 59, Minnesota 57 Comment Count

Alex Cook January 22nd, 2019 at 9:05 PM

Michigan was able to eventually pull away from Minnesota for a while, but the Gophers erased a 13-point deficit and tied the game with less than a minute left — John Beilein drew up a play for Ignas Bradeikis at the end of regulation, but the freshman was blocked, and Charles Matthews came up with the rebound, took a dribble, and hit the game-winner: a tough, one-handed baseline floater just ahead of the shot clock and the final buzzer. The Wolverines played an ugly game (shooting 3-22 from three and scoring just 0.92 points per possession) but managed to prevent overtime and the prospect of a bad upset loss.

It was clear from the beginning that the Gophers were going to be a challenge. Minnesota had scored six points and it was almost three minutes into the game before Isaiah Livers opened the scoring for Michigan with a pair of free throws. Minnesota maintained that lead for most of the first half. The Wolverines were mired in a funk this weekend against Wisconsin, and that seeped into the start of this game: Michigan began the game shooting 3-19 from the field as Minnesota crawled out to a 19-10 lead. The Gophers took advantage of Michigan’s smallest lineup with some nice big-to-big passing early on, and freshman shooter Gabe Kalscheur knocked down a couple early threes.

Eli Brooks provided a nice spark with nine minutes left in the half. On back-to-back possessions, he found Jon Teske on a pick-and-roll for an easy alley-oop layup, then stopped Dupree McBrayer cold on a drive, leading directly to a fast break layup for Matthews. Richard Pitino called a quick timeout, but Michigan was awake — because of Teske. The Big Sleep scored on the next possession, following an Iggy miss; Matthews set him up for another pick-and-roll finish; then he hit a pick-and-pop three to tie the game at 23. It was a mostly horrible half for Michigan, but Teske shined — he scored 11 points and didn’t miss a shot. He finished with an efficient 15 and was Michigan's only unequivocally positive player on offense.

Beilein tried to steal some minutes with Brandon Johns at the five after Michigan tied it up late in the half, but Amir Coffey took advantage with some drives all the way to the rim. Minnesota regained the lead and carried it into the second half. Kalscheur got past Jordan Poole for a layup to put the score at 36-29; Iggy responded with a tough three over Jordan Murphy on the next possession. Iggy had a rough start, missing his first seven shots, but got going late in the first half with a couple buckets. He followed up the three with a nice defensive stop on Murphy and a coast-to-coast and-one layup. It was an inefficient game for him — his 18 points came on 23 shot equivalents — but Michigan needed Iggy’s production.



After the Gophers built that seven-point lead, the Wolverines played a dominant stretch of basketball, outscoring Minnesota 23-3 over a ten minute span. Zavier Simpson had a nice sequence — scoring on a tough running sky hook off glass, then taking the ball from Daniel Oturu and converting an easy layup. Iggy was fouled twice on three-point attempts during the run; Brooks roasted “Jelly Fam” Washington for a bucket; Livers got a transition dunk (after having missed one earlier in the game) following a Teske block at the rim. Michigan’s offense was finally up and running, but the defense was locked in too: Minnesota was leveraged into awful shots with Teske patrolling the paint.

Murphy dragged the Gophers back into the game. Michigan led 52-39 when the burly senior forward took it at Poole and tipped in his own miss to stop the run; he scored on two more possessions soon after, drawing a shooting foul on Iggy, then bullying him on a drive from the three-point line for a tough bucket. Michigan’s offense cooled off, but the Wolverines still led by ten following a shorted pick-and-roll jumper from Teske… and then Michigan didn’t score for the next five minutes. A missed Simpson layup which led to an excellent Dupree McBrayer outlet pass to Coffey for a layup and a McBrayer runner off glass over Teske trimmed the Michigan lead to 57-51 and prompted a Beilein timeout with under three minutes left.

The Gophers ran some action for a high-low pass to Murphy, who was fouled by Iggy and hit one free throw. 57-52. Matthews threw up a wild miss in traffic and Coffey got out in the open floor for a tough layup through a Teske contest. 57-54. Kalscheur got loose off a screen and knocked down a three with 31 seconds left. 57-57. Those three were the only three Gophers to finish in double figures, and the huge three from Kalscheur put Minnesota one stop away from sending what had looked like a near-certain defeat to overtime. They had gone on an 18-5 run over the last eight minutes of the half. Meanwhile, Michigan couldn’t buy a bucket — before Kalscheur’s three, Iggy barely missed a layup after getting a step on the defender.

For a moment, it looked like they had that stop. Beilein drew up a play for Iggy to receive the ball at the top of the key and make a play with Poole slipping a ball-screen and popping to the wing. Predictably, the freshman was aggressive — and he threw up a tough, well-contested shot. Eric Curry blocked that shot, and it fell to Matthews. A patient dribble caused Coffey to fly by, Murphy stepped up for a contest, and the high-arcing shot fell through the net shortly after the clock struck zero. A lengthy replay review to determine whether Matthews had beaten the shot clock as well as the game clock was evidently inconclusive, as the referees upheld the original call after a frame-by-frame review of the shot leaving Matthews’s hand.

Michigan had its worst overall offensive performance (0.82 points per possession) since that horrible loss to South Carolina in November 2016 against Wisconsin; they had their worst shooting performance (36.3% effective field goal percentage) since that South Carolina game tonight — but still escaped with a win over Minnesota. A substantial advantage in shot margin (14 equivalents) because of Michigan forcing turnovers and uncharacteristically crashing the glass provided just enough cushion to make up for the awful shooting. Matthews was the hero; Michigan avoided a bad loss (and avoided falling further behind Michigan State in the Big Ten standings). The next game is in Bloomington on Friday against an Indiana squad in free fall.

[Box score after the JUMP]

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January 22nd, 2019 at 11:50 PM ^

Indiana may be "in free fall," but all five were KenPom A games, and only one of their five straight losses was at Assembly Hall.  That place has long been a house of horrors for Michigan.  I will never take Indiana lightly at Bloomington.  Michigan is going to have to bring their A game to get a win.


January 23rd, 2019 at 6:22 AM ^

I never know what to think when we beat a team at the buzzer who we should have beat by 12. Kinda happy, kinda meh. Hopefully that shot gets Charles going, he has been really struggling. Second straight game with only one player with an o-rating over 100 and its Big Sleep again! He is an interesting player, versatile in so many ways and yet little post-game. Beilein uses him well though. Also, how did Minnesota have so many efficient players this game?  Let's hope these guys get the offense going at IU.

gustave ferbert

January 23rd, 2019 at 7:12 AM ^

3-22 from 3.  It was just one of those nights.  Our offense is reliant on 3 point shooting.  When that doesn't click (and it happens every season)  We struggle. 

I was happy to see Iggy get it together in the second half and Matthews is starting to hit that mid range shot again.  Maybe the last second heroics will energize him to take his game to another level  

Do they sell that Jon Teske T shirt at M -Den?



January 23rd, 2019 at 12:49 PM ^

Buuuuut it was just one of those nights.  They were 3-22 last night. Of course when you lump the game that was "one (keyword: one) of those nights" into an already small sample, it makes the full sample looks bad. But the rest of the sample is fine.  Take last nights game out of the sample and they were 28-82 in the other five.  That's 34%.

That's one percentage point lower than their season average. And one percentage point lower than last seasons season average (note that without Wagner, MAAR, and Robinson we are shooting the same as last year).  This is a team that wins with defense and a ball control offense that doesn't turn it over (except at Wisconsin).  Being an average three point shooting team is fine.

Would it be nice to be hitting a couple percentage points higher?  Asbolutely.  But like I said after the first couple games in which we shot horribly against Norfolk St. and the second opponent, Iggy and Poole aren't going to continue to be this bad.  They'll have more off nights but they'll have more nights in which they shoot better than this.  



January 23rd, 2019 at 2:56 PM ^

Yes, the shots were good last night.  Just didn't go in.

The shots against Wisconsin were much tougher but they're very good defensive team that was playing at home in a near must-win game with refs being friendly.  That was going to be a rock fight.

Last night could have fairly easily been a 20-pt blowout if Michigan just shot normally (there were missing dunks fergodsakes!).

The one minor thing I had an issue with: it seemed like Michigan ran a lot more isos than usual (Matthews in the last couple minutes, Iggy a lot).  Sounded like they were doing some experimental things based on Beilein's post-game comments so maybe that was it, but I would have liked to see them run their offense a bit more. 


January 23rd, 2019 at 12:56 PM ^

I do wonder if Coach B preps the team for this or that just gets their heads out of executing and playing ball. Either way, prepare for Teske to barely touch the opposing center and be called for a foul and then be tackled on the other end for no call.


January 23rd, 2019 at 12:01 AM ^

Quick thoughts:

Teske is UM's most reliable player.

Charles Matthews is a straight up dog on defense. People complain about his offense but take for granted how shut down he is on the other end of the court.

Michigan needs more scoring from its backcourt of Simpson and Poole.

The Eli Brooks and Austin Davis experiment needs to end. Glad to see Johns get in tonight and it might be time for DeJulius to start taking Brooks' minutes.

Iggy was 4-18. That's way too inefficient wonder if he has hit the freshman wall.

Tough stretch of games coming up going to need to find ourselves on offense quickly.

L'Carpetron Do…

January 23rd, 2019 at 1:30 AM ^

Brooks is decent - he played well today, made some plays. They don't really have an option to not play him; Simpson needs rest. DeJulius hasn't shown anything that would lead me to believe he would be as productive as Brooks, a now-veteran who has logged plenty of minutes for M. 

Davis hasn't been so great but he's not terrible. I would've like to see Beilein bring him in and rest Teske when Happ went to the bench in the 2nd half the other day. I'm worried about wear and tear on Teske because he plays a lot of minutes and he plays HARD. I also would've liked to have seen Davis foul Happ hard on some of those close buckets he had in the first half. Send him to the line - he's a 50% FT shooter and those are fouls Michigan and Davis could afford to give.  But, the bottom line is: somebody's gotta provide solid minutes to take the load off Teske.


January 23rd, 2019 at 11:50 AM ^

Eli has some flashes, he is certainly not productive, but he manages like a backup PG. Find backup PGs who averages a lot of points? it doesn't happen. Im curious though how you say DeJulius can create his own shot and score? he did in HS, Brooks could also really score in HS. If you are saying Brooks hasn't developed enough might as well run with DeJulius, like they are with Johns over Davis that is one thing, but we are competing for banners, I would guess JB knows DeJulius isn't there yet. (I think DeJulius will be fantastic in a couple years)


January 23rd, 2019 at 8:30 AM ^

But he's not and I'm sick of people piling on Davis while giving Brooks a pass. Brooks is playing over 15 minutes a game and is averaging a whopping 3 points. He's scored three points or less 14 times this year including going scoreless 5 times. Yesterday he played 23 minutes and scored 2 points. His stat line in B1G play is awful. He doesn't rebound, doesn't assist, doesn't create steals, and gets blown by on defense time and time again. Tell me exactly how he's playing "pretty well again."

Brian Griese

January 23rd, 2019 at 10:23 AM ^

I hate to agree with a Maizen take.....but in this case I think I must.  I admit to being an Austin homer for personal reasons but IMO Eli has been worse than Davis given the roster set-up.

Johns is surely more talented that Davis, but he's fouling just like Austin is and Brian and a few other have pointed out the offense really looks stuck from an execution stand point when he is out there.  At least with Davis, you can tell he at least knows when to screen and where to go.  Going forward with both, you just pick your match-ups with the two and hope for the best.

Eli...not really sure but DDJ must be a total cluster bomb and a turnover machine because I was certain by this point he would be in the mix.  Very surprising that DDJ was as highly ranked as he was and has struggled to see any minutes because I must agree I am not seeing whatever Eli is bringing to the floor.  


January 23rd, 2019 at 12:48 PM ^

Ah, I was wondering why the schtick sounded familiar.  Maizen/Shawn L Martin is back as Hei2man

Was he around for the 17-0 start, or did he just return for the Wiscy loss?  

Grima Wormtongue.  Remember, some of it has to be true so that people say, "why don't you let him speak, what he's saying is true!"  


January 23rd, 2019 at 2:48 PM ^

What are you expecting?  Brooks isn't a star, but he's not meant to be. He's a back up pg that plays 15 mpg to spell the starter.  When he's on the floor he's the 5th option.

You're concerned about his 3.3 points per game? That's not a useful metric. His usage is 14% which is lower than Austin Davis.  In the last 6 games of conference play he took a total of 2,3,1,2, 0 and 4 shots - averaging 3.2 attempts per game for the season.   3.3 ppg on 3.2 apg is fine.  

He is shooting 30% from three - not great but that's on a low volume - and his assist rate is 18% which is second on the team behind Simpson.  Pretty sure Beilein knows what he wants from his pg's and would play DDJ more if he could be better than Brooks.

L'Carpetron Do…

January 23rd, 2019 at 6:01 PM ^

You said it. Eli isn't supposed to be the go-to guy when he's in, but he can knock down a 3 here and there and pick up a dime (he had a nice transition feed to Livers yesterday that he dunked home). . He only had 2 points yesterday but they came on a nice move. Poole finished with 3 points and a lower ORtg (but on much higher usage of course). Brooks is not terrible (although I would say he was playing much better earlier in the season, as was every one else on the roster save for Teske and Simpson).



January 23rd, 2019 at 9:03 AM ^

Plus he’s passed up a few open looks from places I’m sure he’s been told to fire away. 

He made a nice hesitation move last night but I’d agree with this. He’s got to give more than that otherwise DeJulius could do same. 

The counter to all of this would be Beilein and staff know what they’re doing. 


January 23rd, 2019 at 1:06 PM ^

Dejulius, even if he was ready, wouldn't take much of Brooks minutes anyway. Most of Brooks minutes come backing up Poole at the two.

Last night Simpson played 34 minutes.  He averages over 35 minutes a game in conference games and that's how much he needs to play because he sets the tone on defense, and he initiates the offense while creating a lot of shots for teammates (see: assist rate of 31.4%).

So there aren't many backup minutes at PG anyway.  Whether it's Brooks or DDJ probably doesn't make much of a difference for those 5 min.

But DDJ isn't a two guard and wouldn't be able to defend bigger slashing wing players so it probably has to be Brooks in to spell Poole for the 10 min he's on the bench.  I agree that Brooks hasn't been great at the two, but there are literally no other options.  You'd have to play a too-small freshman out of position or a freshman who isn't close to being ready for Big Ten basketball (Nunez).

I personally would like to see some more of a Simpson, Matthews, Iggy, Livers, Teske lineup as another way to fiddle with non-Poole lineups. Or get Brooks shot fixed, because that's his biggest issue: isn't hitting his threes and it's caused him to pass up too many open shots.


January 23rd, 2019 at 12:12 AM ^

Teske did a ton of good things, and one of the best was keeping that last play alive by tapping ball out toward Charles. He may not have been thinking exactly that but he kept a few balls alive that way tonight. 

The write said it fell to Charles but it was directed there by the big guy. 


January 23rd, 2019 at 1:03 AM ^

3-22.....we better not see that again.  If we do it’s a hold this L moment. 

How about Iggy 9-11 from the line.  The offense gets cured if gets out of his mini slump.  His open looks will start to drop.  

L'Carpetron Do…

January 23rd, 2019 at 1:18 AM ^

Poole has been pretty bad lately (only 3 points today - ouch). There's something up with the shot-creators - him, Iggy and Matthews because they have been off lately. They're excellent players and can create offense and space for themselves and teammates but it seems like they're hesitant now. Very few hard aggressive moves to get in the paint lately. It's like they're thinking too much or something. Earlier in the season they were slicing through defenses like they weren't even there. Just play!

Teske has been keeping this team's head above water - everybody's gotta step it up! 



January 23rd, 2019 at 3:10 PM ^

Part of the problem with driving and dishing is that defenses have aggressively shifted their approach when helping from the corners.  They're doing it a lot less frequently so as to give up fewer open threes.  B1G defenses are allowing the fewest 3 point attempts in like 20 years, which is saying something given that offenses want to shoot more threes than ever.

So defenses are playing guys more straight up.  Helping a lot less.  Which means it's more important than ever for offensive players to be able to win one-on-one matchups.  So you have to drive and score, drive and score, drive and score than then hopefully they have to start helping and then you can drive and dish.  But Poole and Iggy haven't been successful enough driving and scoring to necessitate any defensive adjustments.



January 23rd, 2019 at 9:33 AM ^

From the opposing side, this is the defensive design...get Simpson to take twice as many shots as Poole...Simpson is not going to beat you offensively-Poole can bury you...do not help against Simpson-stay on Poole and deny him the ball as much as possible. A defensive objective is always (or at least it should be) to make the 2 guard work extra to get his shots-and do not let him get into a rhythm. Wisconsin did the same thing. Michigan is going to have to figure this out.