Steve Perez/Detroit News
Michigan cruised to its 10th straight victory of the season on Tuesday evening with a 67-39 victory over Binghamton. The Bearcats succeeded at taking the air out of the basketball, slowing the game down to just 58 possessions, but the game was never competitive after the second media timeout. Michigan’s defense was strong and helped stretch the first half lead as it held Binghamton to just two points in the final 10 minutes of the first half.
Trey Burke led all scorers with 19 points while Nik Stauskas joined him in double-figures for the Wolverines. Seven Michigan players scored and seven players handed out at least one assist in the easy victory.
Michigan’s offense was far from flawless but still managed 1.17 points per possession. Binghamton opted to pack its defense in the lane, daring Michigan to shoot (generally wide open) three pointers. The Wolverines attempted roughly half of their field goals from long distance and had mixed success from beyond the line, mostly because Tim Hardaway Jr. was never able to find his perimeter stroke and finished 2-of-9 from long distance. Michigan’s other players combined to shoot a more formidable 8-of-21. The rest of Michigan’s offense hovered slightly above season-average form as the Wolverines rebounded 37% of their misses and turned the ball over on just 12 percent of their possessions.
Binghamton managed to score just .67 points per possession but its nearly impossible to decipher what percentage of that figure is due to the Bearcats ineptitude offensively or Michigan’s defense. At least five Binghamton possessions ended with a shot clock violation air-ball as the Bearcats attempted to slow the game down to an absolute crawl. Binghamton finished with as many turnovers (16) as field goals (16) on the night and attempted (and missed) just three free throws. 10 different Wolverines grabbed at least one defensive rebound and combined to corral 81 percent of Binghamton’s misses as the Bearcats essentially surrendered the glass to slow down Michigan’s transition game.
There’s little to take from this game as Binghamton is the worst team that Michigan will play this season. The Wolverines were far from inspiring but did their jobs and executed well enough in a muddled slow-paced game and will move on. Next up for the Wolverines is a trip to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to face off against John Beilein’s old team, the West Virginia Mountaineers. West Virginia enters the game at 4-4 after losing at Duquesne on Tuesday evening, marring signs of progress after a weekend win over Virginia Tech.
- Trey Burke: The competition was clearly lacking but Burke put together another NBA-type scouting reel in this game. He managed 19 points on 8-of-12 (3-6 3pt) shooting and handed out five assists to just one turnover on top of that. Burke was nearly flawless and was able to do whatever he wanted on the floor from opening tip off until the final horn. It was his best three point shooting game in a while and the majority, if not all, of his attempts were much closer to the college line than we’ve seen in recent games.
- Tim Hardaway Jr.: It’s easy to say Hardaway fell in love with the three point shot after he went 2-of-9 from long distance but almost all of his long range efforts were wide open. You can’t ask him not to shoot them but he’s definitely in something of a three point rut. After starting the season 8-of-11 from three point range, he’s just 8-of-37 in Michigan’s last seven games. To his credit, the long range struggles don’t seem to be affecting the rest of his game and he’s able to keep playing well in other areas.
- Nik Stauskas: This felt like a bad shooting night for Stauskas to start the game as he missed his first two long range attempts but, like any good shooter, he kept firing and finished the game 4-of-8 for long range (although 50% will still lower his season average). Stauskas is starting to run into a few more problems when driving the lane – either forcing over-acrobatic looks at the hoop or getting the ball ripped – and needs to learn to control his drives just a bit more.
- Glenn Robinson III: Robinson was active and stuffed the stat sheet with six points, five rebounds, two steals, an assist and a turnover in 30 minutes. Robinson’s bread and butter continues to be cutting along the baseline when Burke gets in the lane but it’s nearly inexplicable how he struggles so much to finish alley-oops despite his extraordinary athletic ability.
- Caris LeVert: LeVert handed out three first half assists and looked very comfortable driving baseline – and making the right decision. His first baseline drive he found McGary for a layup in the paint but adjusted next time to kick the ball to the wing for an open Stauskas three. In the second half he got in the scoring column with a nice backdoor cut and burning the redshirt is steadily looking like the correct decision.
- Jon Horford: Horford has now put together a string of three solid performances. He’s great defensively, providing help and in one-on-one situations, and seems to becoming steadily more comfortable offensively game by game. Horford had two steals on the night, including one on the perimeter where he started a break before getting fouled. Both of his offensive buckets came while slipping to the basket and he caught and finished well.
- Jordan Morgan: Morgan had a light day playing 19 minutes, scoring six points, grabbing a pair of rebounds and dishing out an assist. He played some extended time at the four position, nearly half of his playing time there, and while solid defensively seems to struggle to get involved in the offense at that spot.
- Mitch McGary: McGary grabbed 10 rebounds (4 offensive) in 17 minutes but his all-out style of play got him into a few problems as well. There are still times when he tries to do too much, like throwing a lazy outlet pass straight down the court that was intercepted. McGary was 3-of-6 but as he continues to refine his game, his finishing should follow along quickly.
- Spike Albrecht: Albrecht is proving to be a consistent three point shooter when left open and continues to be steady in relief at the point guard spot. He’s turned it over just once all season and Michigan’s offense doesn’t seem to miss a beat when he’s in the game.