I can't believe this grown-ass man got down on all fours to slap the floor in a game he was coaching

Michigan 62, Northwestern 60 Comment Count

Alex Cook December 4th, 2018 at 11:19 PM

In what's now customary for Michigan's trips to Welsh-Ryan Arena, Northwestern took the Wolverines down to the wire - and this time, Michigan prevailed after a would-be buzzer beater from Ryan Taylor hit the backboard and bounced off the rim. Jordan Poole rejected a screen and drove for an emphatic dunk for the winning margin, and he drew a charge on the ensuing possession. The Wolverines were leveraged into two bad possessions, but their defense held up and secured the win in what was Michigan's first competitive game of the season.

Michigan pulled out to significant leads multiple times, but Northwestern was always able to respond. The beginning of the game portended another blowout: Poole scored five quick points, Zavier Simpson made a few nice plays on the offensive end, and Michigan led 9-3 early - Northwestern labored through their first few possessions but got on the board with a banked-in three from Dererk Pardon (the second made three of his career).

The Wolverines went up 22-12 on an Ignas Brazdeikis three, but Pardon kept the Wildcats in the game. Northwestern’s wings did well to get all the way to the rim on ball-screens to force help from Michigan’s bigs and get the ball to Pardon; he also went to work on the block with his back to the basket and scored effectively against Jon Teske. Pardon finished with 16 points in the first half and carried the scoring burden for a while before Vic Law got going.

Northwestern cut the lead to 22-19, forcing a Beilein timeout, but Michigan responded with a run of their own: Iggy scored on consecutive possessions out of the timeout, Simpson hit a beautiful sky-hook over Pardon, and Teske found Iggy across the floor for a three to extend the lead back to double digits. The Wildcats got back into the game before halftime though, as Pardon scored a few more buckets and Law hit tough shots to end the half - an elbow jumper over Simpson and a tough step-back three at the buzzer.

Michigan led 36-30 at halftime and started the second half well. Teske scored on a put-back on the first possession, Iggy made an and-one layup and had a put-back of his own, and Michigan’s adjustment to have Iggy double off of Anthony Gaines on Pardon’s post touches flummoxed the Northwestern offense for a while. Michigan was on a 9-2 run when Teske picked up his third foul at the under-16 timeout, necessitating a stint from Austin Davis at the center spot.

By the time Davis checked out, Michigan’s lead had evaporated from a comfortable 45-32 margin to a narrow 47-45 lead. The Wildcats held the Wolverines to just two points over a five-minute span, as Law's defense on Simpson bothered the Wolverine point guard; Taylor made a three, AJ Turner made an appearance with a few buckets, including an and-one layup after rejecting a Simpson alley-oop attempt, and Welsh-Ryan was alive. Pardon briefly exited the game with what appeared to be a knee injury and was much less effective in the second half.

Simpson broke the extended 15-2 run with a layup past Law, and Teske checked back in. The Wildcats started to concede wide-open three-point attempts to Simpson and he obliged - taking and missing several looks as Northwestern eventually grabbed their first lead of the game on a tough Law three with six and a half minutes left in the game. After the Law three, Beilein called a timeout and subbed in Eli Brooks for Simpson - a move that worked out well for Michigan. The Wildcats went up three on a Turner hook, but Poole drove baseline and kicked to Brooks, who made the extra pass for a rebuttal from Iggy. On the next possession, Teske found Brooks for a three of his own.

During the intervening possessions, Northwestern was able to keep pace with some easy looks inside. Law lost his high school teammate Charles Matthews on a screen for another layup to put Northwestern up 58-57; Iggy was fouled by Law while taking it to the rim and made one of his two free throws. The teams traded empty trips, then Teske got a steal and eventually was rewarded with an open dunk from Poole. Northwestern responded with a Taylor jumper to tie it back up; Poole’s dunk with two minutes left gave Michigan a 62-60 lead.

From there, Michigan turned it over twice, but held Northwestern scoreless on their final three possessions (despite allowing an offensive rebound on their second-to-last possession). On the final play of the game, Teske stripped Turner, and Taylor grabbed the loose ball, eventually shooting a panicked three from well beyond the arc. The carom off the backboard almost gave Northwestern the hard-fought upset, but the ball bounced Michigan’s way as the clock expired. Despite some poor late-game execution, they prevailed.

Iggy wound up with 23 points (and made 3-6 threes) and continues to impress; Poole started the game hot and made a few huge plays late; Teske was indispensable and finished +15 on the night. Simpson was less effective as the game went on, while Matthews had a tough night in his return to the Chicagoland area, finishing with just three points. Aside from some nice minutes from Brooks down the stretch, Michigan didn’t get much from its bench, as Isaiah Livers was scoreless in 22 minutes and Davis was unable to keep up on both ends while he was in.

Michigan hosts South Carolina on Saturday and will likely keep their undefeated record alive until Big Ten play resumes in January. Tonight, they were truly tested for the first time, and despite shooting 5-20 from three and blowing a sizable second half lead, they withstood strong performances from Northwestern’s seniors Pardon (20 points) and Law (19 points) to stay perfect on the season.

[Box score after the JUMP]

Screen Shot 2018-12-05 at 12.36.03 AM.png



December 5th, 2018 at 8:49 AM ^

A lot of unfair hating on Davis.    Does anyone remember how hopeless Teske looked 2 years ago?  What about our point guard situation at the beginning of last season?   Matthews only scored 3 points last night - is that a harbinger of things to come?   Of course not.   At this point Davis is unproven.   Last night didn't inspire confidence.   Having said that I think it's too soon to just write him off.   It's concerning because this team lacks depth and even though we go 7-deep there is a noticeable drop-off when any of our starters leave the floor.  


December 5th, 2018 at 9:18 AM ^

I'm still confused about the flagrant on Teske- had no idea what they were reviewing during the game and then all of the sudden it was Northwestern free throws/ball.  Did they explain it on the broadcast?  Like it looked like he was kinda holding his arm down, but I hadn't remembered that being a flagrantable offense.


December 5th, 2018 at 10:01 AM ^

Lotta heartache being thrown at Davis, but I don't see much about Livers' having been held scoreless.  While the offense didn't have any flow when Davis was in the game, it didn't help that Livers was out of it, also.  It ended being 3 against 5, and that went poorly.  Couple in the fact that Billy Donlan is Collins' #1 assistant coach.

You guys remember Donlan, right?  The guy that actually implemented the first real defense Beilein ever had a few years ago?  The guy that we were all sad to see leave.  He's the guy that Yaklich replaced...  I know Yaklich gets all the credit for Michigan's defense (and rightfully so), but Donlan built it in one season before going to NW to coach with his best friend.

With all the handwringing over the poor offensive showing last night, lets remember that NW has a pretty good defensive coach - that knows Beilein's offense pretty well - on their bench.

Reggie Dunlop

December 5th, 2018 at 10:23 AM ^

Exactly. I just ranted above. Simpson, Matthews & Livers weren't much better than Davis. Davis is the lightning rod because of he's the 8th guy. God forbid he went out and chucked up 5 bricks like Simpson did. Or turned the ball over every time it touched his hands a la Matthews. Northwestern f***ed up a lot of our guys last night. They know us well and got everybody out of their comfort zone. I'd say considering their expected impact on this season, Davis is the least of my concerns after last night, though I'm not concerned about any of them. We can withstand 4 minute stints of Davis. We'll flat out lose games if Simpson can't hit a dare-you-to-shoot-it three.


December 5th, 2018 at 11:42 AM ^

Matthews turned the ball over twice, one on an attempted alley-oop that he's hit a bunch of times this year.  Simpson had some open 3s that he didn't can; he's not a good outside shooter, but they were good looks that he has to at least attempt sometimes to keep defenses honest.  And at least 2 of them rimmed out, which happens to everyone at times.  

I agree that people are over-reacting about Davis.  But I'm also incredibly tired of the "why aren't Simpson and Matthews perfect at everything" crowd that pop up whenever guys aren't All-Americans.  Simpson is not a good shooter from outside but you sorta need to accept he'll have to take some of those shots for the rest of his game to be as effective.  And Matthews has actually been pretty good with the ball going as far back as the end of last year.  


December 5th, 2018 at 11:32 AM ^

The defense is what saved this team, but re-watching that game Michigan got a ton of bad breaks on long shots while NW got a bunch of ugh shots to fall.  This is the type of perfect storm bullshit game they'd have lost last year.


December 5th, 2018 at 12:01 PM ^

This, absolutely.

If you repeated the same game, and had the same players take the same shots from the same places on the floor, with the same set of questionable road officiating, Michigan wins by an average of 10-15 points.

“Ability to hit contested, 19-foot jumpers” is 30 percent skill and 70 percent luck.  “Ability to bank in the second 3 point basket of your entire career” is like 99 percent luck.  Meanwhile, Michigan shot 25 percent from 3, most of which were open.

Meta: Apparently HUEL has added a new CloudFlare filter that attempts to block SQL injection attacks.  Hey, guys: talking about percentages on a sports website is actually a fairly common activity.  I promise. :)


December 5th, 2018 at 12:43 PM ^

I would hate to see the first-ever call for "coach on the court" T occur with two minutes left n a two-point game, especially since the referees had been letting it go all game and were actually just sort of motioning him back when he got too far from the bench.

On the other hand, I would like to see Izzo T'd up when MSU is up 20 or (better yet) down 20, just to sort of make the point that if it continues to happen, it might cost somebody a game.

I would also like to see Michigan instructed to run into coaches who are on the floor in order to try to draw the T. :)


December 5th, 2018 at 1:56 PM ^

As to their coach getting down on all fours, well, maybe he enjoys being our dog?

I like that we’re hand-wringing over an undefeated team, and a sub who didn’t play as well coming in cold off the bench as Teske, one of the team’s best players. Wouldn’t be a Michigan fan base otherwise!


December 5th, 2018 at 3:09 PM ^

Simpson made several bad decisions down the stretch and got himself pulled for the last few minutes until the last possession required his D. Understanding that Davis bogged down the O, Z still can’t let himself get caught up in jacking 3s he has no business taking. Glad the lesson still comes with a W. 


December 5th, 2018 at 7:01 PM ^

We ran some nice offense most of the night that got us open looks that we often missed. Their offense got a bunch of terrible looks that they made. And the refs were hot garbage, they called a foul on Z as he ran away with his back turned to a guy shooting a layup...