Michigan 83, Minnesota 55. Box score.
There’s something about Minnesota that brings out the best in Michigan. The Wolverines have beaten the Gophers in four straight games and three of them haven’t really been close. Michigan has outscored Minnesota by 51 points in their last four match-ups which equates to an average score of 74 to 61.
It was the last home game in a season marred by offensive ineptitude but just once, Michigan managed to play perfect offense. Perfection is really the only way to describe Michigan’s offensive performance. They scored a sizzling 1.5 points per possession, the best mark of Beilein’s tenure in Ann Arbor. Michigan’s shooting line (eFG/2pt/3pt) was a ridiculous 67.8/70.5/42.1. Michigan didn’t have a single player shoot under 50% from the field. They turned the ball over on only 7% of their possessions, rebounded 34.8% of their misses, and had a respectable free throw rate of 30.2%. They scored 83 points in a 55 possession game which is simply phenomenal.
Michigan got the job done of the defensive side as well. Most of all, they forced turnovers. Minnesota coughed it up on 25% of their possessions and those 14 turnovers resulted in 18 Michigan points. Minnesota’s offensive scored a respectable .972 points per trip with a shooting line of 48.2/45.5/18.8. They also rebounded almost half (45.2%) of their misses but it wasn’t enough to match Michigan’s offense.
At this point I think we are beyond calling good performances “bittersweet”. Everyone knows how this season has gone and right now it is what it is. You can’t really expect Michigan to build on something like this because their Achilles heel all year has been their inconsistency. Regardless of anything else, it was great to see DeShawn Sims end his career at Crisler Arena on a high note. Let’s just take a step back and enjoy this one for a bit.
Next up is a trip to the Breslin Center and a rematch with the Spartans, who will likely be playing for a share of the Big Ten title. Michigan spoiled Minnesota’s tournament hopes, maybe they can play spoiler one more time before all is said and done.
Recruiting: Four star 2011 big man (Scout #3 center, Rivals #4 center) Marshall Plumlee was in town for the game.
- DeShawn Sims: This is the good DeShawn Sims that we all know and love. He scored 23 points on 10 of 16 (0-2 3pt) shooting with 6 rebounds and 2 assists. When Sims has his full arsenal clicking, he’s just a joy to watch. He probably drove everyone crazy at one time or another but he has improved his game tenfold over the last four years. I’ll have a full post on the seniors so I’ll save some of the sentimentalism for that.
- Anthony Wright: Wright hit one of his trademarked three pointers in his last home game. He certainly wasn’t the most consistent performer but I’ll always remember him for his three point barrage last year in Kansas City versus Oklahoma.
- Zack Gibson: 7 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal in 14 minutes for Gibson. Gibson has been getting a few more minutes lately and he’s been pretty productive. His one “moment” in my mind will always be his big game versus Illinois at home last season.
- Darius Morris: He’s just a pup but he definitely shows flashes of what he can be. He had a couple beautiful assists (6 assist to 1 turnover) and he controlled the offense. His two best games of the year have been against Minnesota so I hesitate to get carried away, but there’s no doubt that he has a bright future.
- Manny Harris: Manny, like everyone else, looks a lot better when his shots are falling: 8 of 12 (2-2 3pt),2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 3 steals. Harris was effective inside and out and he really let the game come to him.
- Stu Douglass: Douglass notched 10 points on 4 of 8 (2-5 3pt) shooting with 3 assists and one turnover. He played off the ball most of the game and looked pretty good. His jump shot at the end of the shot clock with Minnesota defenders draped all over him certainly left me speechless.
- Zack Novak: Novak had a remarkable stat line: 6 points (2-4 3pt), 6 defensive rebounds, 6 assists, 0 turnovers. Novak actually played the off guard tonight for what must have been the first time since December of last season.
- Matt Vogrich: Vogrich made the most of his 5 minutes of playing time. He hit a three and also scored a nice bucket on a backdoor cut.
- Laval Lucas-Perry: Laval only played five minutes and as I mentioned, Zack Novak played the two for the first time since December 2008. Laval had 3 fouls and two missed free throws in his limited playing time, certainly nothing to inspire confidence.