Michigan falls at Penn State 73-58

January 20, 2009

Penn State handled Michigan with relative ease and coasted to a 73-58 win. Michigan after starting the season 13-3 and 3-1 in the Big Ten is now 13-6 and 3-4. Despite shooting 9-30 in the first half Michigan was still in the game thanks to Penn State turning the ball over 8 times. The Nittany Lions took a 29-22 lead into halftime.

Jamelle Cornley opened the second half by scoring 6 straight points which put Penn State up 37-24 and pretty much sealed the game.

Michigan simply could not hit a 3 point shot to save their lives as they shot 5-30 on three pointers. Take away Stu Douglass’ 3-8 and the rest of the team was 2-22. Meanwhile, Penn State shot a ridiculous 58% from the field and executed their offense to near perfection in the second half.

The good news for Michigan is that DeShawn Sims rebounded from a couple of off games to go 9-13 from the field for 19 points and he hauled in 10 boards.

Manny Harris was out of synch as he was 2-10 from the field for 6 points. Laval Lucas-Perry was 0-6 on three pointers.

Michigan is off until Saturday when they host Northwestern. 

The road to 21 wins: I had projected this is a win. There are 5 games remaining that I had projected as wins. If they win all 5 of those that is 18 wins. Besides those 5 games Michigan has 7 games, plus the Big Ten Tournament. 21 wins is still within reach, but they have to get this thing going again. One game at time, starting with what is pretty much a must win on Saturday. They have to beat Northwestern at home. It would be far from ideal to take a 4 game losing streak to Columbus with a trip to West Lafayette to follow.


Michigan rolls past Iowa

January 11, 2009

gradyiowa1Kelvin Grady got things going for Michigan by draining a three ball on their first possession and he gave Michigan a lead they would never surrender the rest of the game. In the first 7 minutes of the game Michigan took a 12-4 lead. Laval Lucas-Perry scored 5 points in that run.

Michigan was executing their offense with precision in the opening half. Stu Douglass found Zack Gibson cutting to the basket for a lay up. Moments later Zack Novak found Douglass cutting to the hoop for an easy basket. After that play Iowa coach Todd Lickliter burned his 3rd time out of the half and there were still over 8 minutes left to play in the half. All of the timeouts didn’t help slow down the Wolverine stampede.

DeShawn Sims was pulling down one handed rebounds with Hawkeyes draped all over him. Manny Harris was knocking down threes and swiping the ball away from Iowa. Zack Novak did not score in the first half but he was making plays on both ends of the court and grabbing rebounds. Michigan’s defense stifled Iowa in the first half to the tune of 27% shooting and 8 turnovers. Michigan had a hefty 32-16 lead at the half. The 16 points was the lowest for Iowa in a first half this year.

Things didn’t start much better for Iowa in the second half. The Hawkeyes turned the ball over on their first possession. Michigan continued to execute on both ends of the court to open the second half. Iowa was so out of synch that they had a streak of 10 possessions in which they turned the ball over 7 times. Hawkeyes were dropping passes out of bounds and dribbling the ball off their foot for turnovers.

The final score was 64-49. Michigan’s biggest lead was 28 points in the second half. Michigan played their best game of the season since the Duke game.

Kelvin Grady played a superb game running the offense. He scored 8 points, dished out 4 assists and did not turn the ball over in 28 minutes. Manny Harris did what he does as he scored 18 points, grabbed 8 boards, dished out 5 assists and picked up 4 steals. Zack Novak scored 5 points to go with 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Those numbers don’t tell the story on how well he played. He was 1-6 from the field but was playing tough Big Ten basketball. Laval Lucas-Perry was solid with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. 

Inside the numbers: Michigan had 16 assists on 24 field goals. Michigan turned the ball over 11 times, Iowa 18 times. Michigan out rebounded Iowa 31-29. Michigan was 7-22 on three pointers. Michigan had a season high 12 steals. 

Notes: CJ Lee entered the game in the second half and provided a nice spark as he was hustling and diving all over the court.
Eric Puls drained a three and is now 2-2 on three point shooting this season. 







Michigan defeats Illinois 74-64

January 4, 2009

2009-0104-ad-umbball237For the second game in a row Coach Beilein tweaked the starting line up. Against Wisconsin Zack Novak was added to the lineup in place of Jevohn Shepherd. Against Illinois Laval Lucas-Perry made his first career start in place of Stu Douglass.

This was a critical game for Michigan since they were coming off a home loss to Wisconsin and Illinois was coming in riding a 7 game winning streak and fresh off a road win at Purdue.

DeShawn Sims got things started for Michigan with a 3 pointer and that kicked off a barrage of Michigan 3 pointers in the first half. Michigan was up 16-9 early and had already nailed 4 triples (Sims twice, Lucas-Perry, and Novak).

Illinois responded by going on a 13-2 run and taking a 22-18 lead. Kelvin Grady ended the Illini run by draining a 3 pointer and moments later he found Zack Gibson for a lay up.

Illinois stretched the lead out to 29-23 and 31-26 and they were making just about every shot they threw up.

Zack Novak ended the first half with an 8 point flurry including two 3 pointers.

The hot shooting Illini led 39-38 at the half thanks to shooting 59% from the field. Michigan kept it close by drilling 8 of 18 on 3 pointers.

Michigan came out in the second half with some fire and Manny Harris stoked the flames when he blocked a Mike Davis dunk attempt.

Michigan finally took the lead back at 48-46 courtesy of a Laval Lucas-Perry triple. The two teams slugged it out for the next several minutes with the lead changing hands numerous times.

gibsonill1Zack Gibson entered the game when Zack Novak was bloodied after he banged heads with Alex Legion (the cut required 6 stitches). Gibson sparked a game closing run for Michigan when he drilled a 3 pointer and followed it up with a block on the other end. Laval Lucas-Perry made a key lay up for Michigan with the shot clock expiring that gave Michigan a 64-62 lead they would not relinquish. In fact Michigan closed out the game with a 12-2 run and some clutch free throw shooting. Michigan won the game 74-64 and had 5 players score in double digits lead by Manny Harris who scored 16 to go along with 6 boards, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Sims added 13 points and 9 rebounds. Lucas-Perry scored 13 and dished out 5 assists. Zack Novak scored 11 and Zack Gibson 10.

Inside the numbers: Michigan had 18 assists on 26 made field goals and only 8 turnovers. Michigan had 6 steals and 3 blocks in the game. Michigan shot 11-27 on three pointers. Illinois edged Michigan on the boards 33-30.

Road to 21 wins:  This was a game I had marked as a win. Michigan has yet to lose one of the games I projected them to win and they have won 2 games that I did not project them to win.

Notes: Laval Lucas-Perry has scored double digits in all 5 of his games. 
Zack Novak did return to the game after getting stitched up. He was wearing the #11 jersey because his #0 jersey was blood stained. 

Quotes: John Beilein: “I mentioned to the team, one of the biggest plays might have happened at halftime as DeShawn Sims really showed some great leadership. He wanted to win that ball game and his passion was terrific.”

Zack Novak:  “My job is to hit the threes and my teammates are finding me open. They’re driving the ball and I just move to the open spot. They find me and I knock them down.”

Bruce Weber: “They’ve got a good group and he’s got his system in,” He’s spreading you, playing small ball, and he puts you in a bind. He’s done a nice job here.”

Michigan defeats NCCU 77-57

December 29, 2008

novak11Michigan started the game with a quick 7-0 run. Manny Harris started things off on the opening possession by draining a three. On the next possession Manny missed a three then he stole the ball on the defensive end and lobbed an alley oop to DeShawn Sims and that is how the 7-0 run started. After a North Carolina Central free throw made the score 7-1 DeShawn Sims hit a three to put Michigan up 10-1.

Michigan was up 13-5 when we all got a scare as DeShawn Sims rolled his ankle and limped off into the tunnel. Thankfully he returned to the court a few minutes later.

The Eagles had trimmed Michigan’s early lead to 13-9 when Laval Lucas-Perry checked in and promptly nailed back to back triples to open the lead up to 19-9.

Moments later Lucas-Perry would hit another triple to put Michigan up 24-9. After back to back lay ups from Zack Gibson and DeShawn Sims Michigan was up 28-12 and seemed ready to roll. The North Carolina Central went on a nice run to cut the lead down to 36-31 at one point and 38-31 at the half. Jamar Briscoe keyed the Eagles run while doing his best Earl Boykins impression.

Michigan came out of the locker room with a purpose and 4 minutes into the second half opened the lead back up to 55-35. Stu Douglass scored Michigan’s first 5 points of the half.

Michigan had another lull and allowed the Eagles to creep back to within 8 points at 59-51.

North Carolina Central would only score 6 points in the final 9 minutes of the game. While that was happening Kelvin Grady pushed the tempo for Michigan and the Wovlerines pulled away to secure a 77-57 victory and improve to 10-2.

Manny Harris had another monster night scoring 29 points, grabbing a career high 16 rebounds to go along with 7 assists and 1 turnover. DeShawn Sims scored 17 points and hauled down 9 boards to go along with 3 steals.  Laval Lucas-Perry scored 10 points and was 3-4 on three pointers. Kelvin Grady did not score but in 27 minutes he dished out 4 assists and did not turn the ball over. 

Inside the numbers: Michigan had 17 assists on 24 field goals and turned the ball over 11 times. Michigan was 9-30 on three pointers. 

Notes: Sims didn’t play the final few minutes and appeared to be limping a bit as he ran down the tunnel. 

Sims goes for 20 and 20 in win

December 22, 2008

simsfgcuMichigan did not play their finest half of the season in the opening stanza. However, against a wild and sloppy Florida Gulf Coast team it was good enough to take a 39-18 lead at the break.

DeShawn Sims led the first half charge scoring 9 points and grabbing a career high 13 rebounds. Laval Lucas-Perry chipped in 7 points and 3 rebounds.

Michigan shot a miserable 6-22 on three point attempts in the first half. In the first half 7 Michigan players scored. Manny Harris and Kelvin Grady each shot 2-6 on three pointers in the opening half. Michigan shot 7-8 on first half free throws to build upon their Big Ten leading free throw shooting percentage. The Wolverines also out rebounded the Eagles 28-16 in the first half including 11-1 on the offensive glass.

gradyfgcuFlorida Gulf Coast scored the first 5 points of the second half. Michigan finally got on the board on 2 CJ Lee free throws. Soon thereafter DeShawn Sims and Stu Douglass hit back to back three pointers and Michigan had opened the lead back up to 49-25. Michigan continued to kind of coast along in front of a lackluster holiday crowd. The Wolverines were holding the Eagles at bay but not really playing that well. Then all of sudden Florida Gulf Coast bangs a couple of threes and goes on a little run to cut the lead all the way down to 8 points. DeShawn Sims, who was the player of the game with 20 points and 20 rebounds, hit a three ball and then scored on a dunk to keep Michigan up by 10.
douglassdunkThen finally some three balls started dropping for
Michigan as they closed out the game with 3 point daggers courtesy of Laval Lucas-Perry and two from Kelvin Grady. Grady scored 8 points in the closing minutes and Stu Douglass sealed it with a dunk to score Michigan’s final points. Michigan won 76-59 and that is the important thing. However they did not play that well and certainly there will be some teaching points for the coaching staff on the film.

Kelvin Grady scored 14 points, Stu Douglass scored 12 and Laval Lucas-Perry chipped in 10 points. Manny Harris scored 6 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 5 assists, a steal, and 4 turnovers. 

Inside the numbers: Michigan was 12-42 on three pointers for 28.6%. After the back to back games of exceptional assist to turnover ratios the Wolverines only picked up 15 assists and turned the ball over 15 times. Florida Gulf Coast turned the ball over 26 times. 

Notes: Michigan will be off until next Monday when they play North Carolina Central and follow that up with the Big Ten opener at home against Wisconsin on New Years Eve.

DeShawn Sims is the first Wolverine to post a 20-point, 20-rebound performance in 31 years. The last Wolverine to accomplish the feat was Phil Hubbard, who had 22 points and 26 rebounds vs. Detroit (March 17, 1977).

With his 20 rebounds, DeShawn Sims posted the most rebounds by a Big Ten Conference player this season. The previous best for U-M and in the conference was by teammate Manny Harris, who had 15 against Norfolk State (Nov. 25).

Michigan played 10 players with the lowest minutes going to Zack Gibson and Jevohn Shepherd who both played 13 minutes. I would expect that Coach Beilein is going to want to trim down the rotation a bit as they head into Big Ten play. He has said in the past he likes to use 7 or 8 guys in his rotation. 

Michigan Pummels Eastern 91-60

December 13, 2008

shepherdemuMichigan played this game without Coach John Beilein who was out sick. This was also the first game they had played since the Duke win a week ago. Considering those two factors I guess it is not that surprising that Michigan came out a little flat and/or out of synch. Eastern Michigan controlled the game for the first 16 minutes of the half and enjoyed leads of 18-11, 19-13, and 26-19.

During that 16 minute span Jevohn Shepherd kept Michigan in the game by scoring 9 points. Kelvin Grady chipped in 3 three pointers as well to keep Michigan close.

Michigan took a 32-30 lead after two DeShawn Sims free throws with a little over three minutes left in the half. Michigan would not trail again in the game.

Following the free throws David Merritt hit a 3 ball. Jevohn Shepherd scored on back to back possessions. David Merritt ended the half by hitting a 3 at the buzzer and Michigan had a 44-34 lead at the break.

Manny Harris had 2 points and 2 fouls in 5 minutes of play in the half. Jevohn Shepherd had 13 points and Kelvin Grady 11 points to pace Michigan in the first half. The Wolverines started the half hitting just one of 7 from downtown. However, they ended the half by hitting 7 of 10 from three point land.

I noticed acting head coach Jerry Dunn started Zack Novak in the second half over Stu Douglass. DeShawn Sims scored the first 4 points of the second half for Michigan. With about 17 minutes remaining in the game Manny Harris was 1-6 from the field for 2 points. Then Manny went on a rampage of three point plays. If he was not knocking down a triple he was converting three point plays at the line. The Manny rampage came quick and hit Eastern hard. He started it by hitting 3 consecutive three pointers. Then on a feed from Zack Novak he scored and completed the 3 point play at the line. Just like that Manny had ripped off 12 points.

Following the Manny rampage Sims and Douglass knocked down three point shots and in between that Manny added another 3 point play on drive, score, and foul. Manny continued his rampage by grabbing rebounds and swiping the ball from Eastern and Michigan poured it on down the stretch. Eric Puls even got into the mix by knocking down a good looking 3 pointer and Michigan won 91-60 and improved to 7-2 on the season.

gradyemu1Manny Harris finished with 22 points on 8-16 from the field including 4-7 from deep to go along with 7 boards, 5 assists, and 2 steals. DeShawn Sims scored 18 points grabbed 5 rebounds and picked up 2 steals. Kelvin Grady continues to run this team very efficiently. In 23 minutes Grady scored 11 points on 4-5 shooting (3-4 on 3 pointers). Grady had 3 assists and 0 turnovers. This is the second straight game that Grady has not turned the ball over. 

Inside the numbers: Michigan only had 5 turnovers in the game compared to 17 for Eastern. Eastern out rebounded Michigan 42-27 including 14 offensive rebounds. Michigan had 24 assists on 35 field goals and was 16-33 from three point range.  The 16 three pointers set a school record for one game.

The road to 21 wins: This was a game Michigan had to win and they did so in convincing fashion. Now they have a week to get ready for Oakland. Laval Lucas-Perry will make his highly anticipated Michigan debut against Oakland.

Eastern Michigan Preview

December 10, 2008

gibson11Michigan (6-2) will face Eastern Michigan (2-6) on Saturday, December 13th at 4pm. They game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

Eastern Michigan last played on December 8th when they beat Wayne State 67-47 and snapped a six game losing streak.

The leading scorers for the Eagles are Sophomore Brandon Bowdry 14.4 points per game and Junior Justin Dobbins 11.4 points per game.

Michigan has not played since the rousing win against Duke. This will be the last game they play before Laval Lucas-Perry is eligible.

Manny Harris leads Michigan averaging 20.8 points per game. Harris is also averaging 7.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Harris is shooting 50% from the field and 88.5% from the free throw line.

DeShawn Sims is averaging 16.4 points per game to go along with 8.4 boards per game. 

Michigan is 25-2 all time against Eastern Michigan.