Michigan 83, Penn State 66

Submitted by Ace on March 14th, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Mitch McGary snatched the rebound out of the air, turned towards the Michigan bench, and let out a guttural yell that could be heard from across the court.

Michigan had looked listless—yes, again—to begin the game against Penn State. The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 14-3 lead after Jordan Morgan couldn't finish three layup attempts and the Wolverines as a whole couldn't slow down Penn State's pick and roll. Enter McGary, who ended PSU's run with a layup, then overcame a missed breakaway dunk to record a first-half double-double.

The McGary Growl came with the score tied at 16, and his histrionics immediately lifted the spirits of the players on the bench—and on the court. On the next possession, Nik Stauskas sunk a three, and the Wolverines wouldn't trail for the remainder of the game, pulling away late for a comfortable 17-point win. When called upon to infuse energy to a team that couldn't shake their previous struggles against Penn State, the freshman big man did that and more, finishing the game with ten points on 5/6 shooting (all in the first half) and 11 rebounds, five of them offensive.

After McGary kept the team afloat in the first half, the rest of the team stepped up in the second. Trey Burke led all scorers with 21 points, pouring in 13 in the second half on 4/6 shooting. Stauskas contributed nine of his 15 points in the latter stanza, including a "Game ... Blouses"-style dunk and nifty and-one layup. Jon Horford tallied all 11 of his points in the final 20 minutes, going 4/4 from the field in that span.

Gradually, over the course of the second half, Michigan's lead grew—after PSU's Jermaine Marshall tied the game at 39 with 17:25 left, the Wolverines outscored the Nittany Lions 44-27. Some added defensive intensity certainly helped; after Michigan ceded 14/26 two-point shooting in the first half, Penn State hit 12/26 from inside the arc in the second half. That may be just a two-shot difference, but the makes were more difficult to come by, at least.

Michigan moves on to play Wisconsin in the second game of the day tomorrow (~2:30 EST), and this game brought up some concerns for the rest of the tournament. Interior baskets were far too easy to come by for PSU, especially Sasa Borovnjak, who scored 15 points on 7/10 FG despite no offensive rebounds. The Wolverines looked lost defending the pick and roll, and offensively they biffed more than their fair share of layups.

They finally beat Penn State handily, however, outdoing KenPom's prediction by a point. Blemishes or no, that's taking care of business, and the team's first double-digit win since February 24th was a welcome sight.

Mitch McGary may not play pretty, but his contributions were also a delight—both to the fans and his teammates, apparently.



March 14th, 2013 at 5:28 PM ^

I wish Trey would stay another year.  All the surrounding players are starting to take shape.

Hell, I wish he would stay 2 more years.




March 14th, 2013 at 5:34 PM ^

PG is so important in Beilein's system and it's not the easiest thing for a freshman PG to pick up.  If he's not a projected lottery pick, I could see him staying.  But the only criticism could be his height and I don't think that will change much in another year.


March 14th, 2013 at 5:49 PM ^

Derrick Walton will not be Trey Burke, but I have hope we will be as good next year because:

1. Burke has already proven a freshman PG can come in and run Beilein's system well

2. Walton seems to be that talented a PG, and Spike should be a steady influence while Walton learns, and Zak Irvin seems like a ready made scorer.

3. Players usually improve the most from freshman to sphomore years, so I'm expecting at least 1 or 2 big leaps from the McGary/GR3/Levert/The Canadien quartet.

That said, this is the part of the year I've been waiting for since November, watching Burke destroy fools in the NCAA/BTT!!


March 14th, 2013 at 7:11 PM ^

To point #1, which is the most valid in my opinion, Walton will have much more talent around him next year than Burke had last year.  As such I expect little to drop off from one player to the next....

To point #2 Walton looks very good. I teach in Detroit and I was talking to some of my kids today who played against him in both AAU and in the PSL, these are talented kids and they said Walton is on another level,  one thought he was better than James Young (i don't knwo if I agree with that thought)

And point #3 is obvious.


I would add a point #4, this has been a year of growing pains for the coaches as well, i expect better out of them next year.



March 14th, 2013 at 9:48 PM ^

the point in the UM offense.  Burke has commented that he understands it so much better this year than last.  You are correct about having better talent around him and that will be a big help.  I assume Burke is all we lose this year and I think all 3 Freshmen next year will contribute.

Blue boy johnson

March 14th, 2013 at 5:37 PM ^

More than the guttural yell, Mitch going 5 for 6 from the field and rebounding everything in sight is what sparked the team. Had Morgan made his bunnies M would never have been on the bad side of a 14-0 run.



March 14th, 2013 at 5:38 PM ^

Do you mean 2:30 EDT?

I make that mistake more often for work-related stuff than writing the wrong year on checks for the first couple months.


March 15th, 2013 at 3:35 AM ^

The game doesn't actually have an exact starting time.  Our game is suppose to start approximately 20 minutes after the finish of the Indiana vs. Illinois game before us.

So the networks and guides have the game at 2:00 ET, but the game is more likely to start around 2:30 or even a bit later.  It all depends on the length of the 1st quarterfinal.

San Diego Mick

March 14th, 2013 at 8:48 PM ^

I really liked the way we played, Mitch played beastly to spur us and Horford picked up the slack in 2nd half. The really good thing about that is we got great contributions from those 2 bigs in different halves and hopefully they will not be too spent going into tomorrows game and hopefully going forward.

I'd like to see Beilein coach the team to be tougher and focus on finishing stronger at the rim, I'm lookin' at you Jordan Morgan (dunk the effing ball more fergodsakes) box out better, go to the basket on an attempted shot more consistently.....this is coaching. These are the things, or lack there of things that frustrate me with Coach B. We need to improve in these fundamental areas.

Play more bigs and the bench in general tomorrow, we have more depth than Indiana, playing a full 10 guys would keep us fresher than the 7-8 guys that that douche Crean uses going into a possible Sat. Match-up.

Wolverine 73

March 15th, 2013 at 9:37 AM ^

But McGary reminds me of Bill Walton in college.  Not saying he will be that good, but Walton had a ton of energy, was a great passer, and was very active inside.  McGary shows those same qualities in spurts.  If he can develop into a more consistent player next year (after all, Walton did not play as a freshman), we may really have something.


March 15th, 2013 at 10:04 AM ^

From his column in the Det News today http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130315/OPINION03/303150334#ixzz2NcJF6NiM, this sentence leads the third paragraph:

"It's the noise Michigan needs to hear, the guttural sound of a large man grabbing a rebound or powering to the basket."

I'm sure it's complete coincidence Wojo uses the same not exactly common word, guttural, that Ace used in the opening sentence of his game recap.