Five Key Plays is back for the 2011-12 season with a look back at five notable, important or otherwise interesting plays from Michigan’s 59-33 win over Ferris State.
1. Jordan Morgan’s strong drive to the bucket for an and-1
Although he averaged over nine points last season, most of Morgan’s points came in transition, on put backs or off the pick and roll from Darius Morris. Here’s a play that we have rarely seen from Morgan, and one that is hopefully a sign of things to come. Morgan received the ball at the top of the key, pump faked and took it strong to the hole on just one dribble. The help-side defender tried to stop him but never had a chance. Morgan made the lay up with two defenders on him, also drawing the foul. To cap it off, he made the free throw. It’s plays like this that will put force Beilein to think twice about starting Horford, who was scoreless and very quiet on Friday, over Morgan.
2. Trey Burke’s steal and first career points on the other end
That’s the Trey Burke Michigan fans are hoping to see. It started with great defensive recognition. With his eye on the ball and one hand on his man, Burke anticipated the back door pass perfectly and made the steal under the Ferris State basket. He wasted no time getting down the court in transition a la Darius Morris, cruising past two defenders. Realizing the remaining two defenders were keyed in on Morgan and Hardaway on the wings, Burke pulled up for a bunny just inside the charity stripe.r Maybe most impotantly, he didn’t try to do too much, as most freshmen would do. He took what the defense gave him and executed the fast break perfectly for the first two points of his Michigan career.
3. Evan Smotrycz’s drive to the bucket and nifty post move
We’ve heard all offseason of the new and improved Smotrycz. Friday, Smotrycz gave us a glimpse into the sort of player that he can be this season. He showed three things. First, he can shoot the rock, which we saw from his three 3-pointers. Second, he can take the ball to the rim, as seen in the first of two plays of this video. Smotrycz had the ball in the corner, faked right, then drove left, blowing by the Ferris State defender and finishing with the right-handed lay in. The third — his ability to score in the post — is featured in the second part of this video, when Douglass dishes it inside to Smotrycz, and Smotrycz fakes the defender out of his shoes, finishing with a nifty reverse layup on the left side of the rim. Friday was a great step in the right direction but now the test will be whether Smotrycz can make these sort of plays consistently and against better competition.
4. Tim Hardaway’s 3-pointer at the beginning of the second half
Although Michigan ran away with this one late, there was a time when the result was in doubt. Just two minutes into the second half the Wolverines only led by one and the Crisler Arena crowd was getting antsy. Michigan needed a bucket. There’s no real big surprise here — everybody knows Hardaway can shoot, but once again he showed an ability to make a shot when the Wolverines need him most, seen here draining a three from the wing to give Michigan some much-needed breathing room.
5. Matt Vogrich’s rebound and put-back off his own miss
Vogrich was pretty quiet on Friday, but he showed glimpses of his scrappy, energetic play style, most visibly in this clip. After a ball screen by Morgan, Vogrich drove left down the middle of the lane. He put up an ugly lay-up, but grabbed his own rebound under the basket and laid it back in for the bucket and the foul. It wasn’t the prettiest play, but then again, the only really pretty thing about Vogrich is his shooting stroke. Michigan needs him to be that gritty, hard-working player off the bench, and that’s exactly what Vogrich was here. He looks stronger and more fluid than a season ago which could help him provide this production on a more regular basis.