Michigan cruised by Delaware State in what will likely be its easiest win of the season. The Wolverines led from wire-to-wire and knocked off the Hornets by a final score of 80-33.
Delaware State’s 33 points were tied for the fewest scored by a Division I team this year, and that was a generous total considering the Hornets made four of their last five field goals in garbage time. While there was little to complain about with Michigan’s defense, the meager offensive output is more of an indictment of Delaware State’s offense than an endorsement of improved Wolverine defense.
The Wolverines led 29-18 with four minutes to play in the first half and would go on to outscore Delaware State 42-5 over the next 20 minutes of play.
Either way, the Wolverines will be happy to pick up an easy victory after a tumultuous week that featured a blowout loss at SMU, the end of Spike Albrecht’s career, another game without starting point guard Derrick Walton and a new ankle injury for DJ Wilson (Beilein update here).
Michigan had six players in double figures — all of whom shot better than 50% from the field — for the first time since 2002. The Wolverine offense was met with little opposition as it shot 62% on twos and 41% on threes for a 61 effective field goal percentage. Just shy of three quarters of Michigan’s field goal makes were assisted and it dominated in peripheral statistics like points in the paint (36-10), off of turnovers (22-6) and fast break (8-0).
Defensively, Michigan packed it in and dared the Hornets to shoot from the perimeter. Delaware State obliged and shot about as well as you would expect from one of the worst shooting teams in the country. The Hornets made 28% of their twos and 19% of their threes for a 28 effective field goal percentage. Michigan did its part to clean up the defensive glass, rebounding 83% of DSU’s misses, and also forced turnovers on a quarter of the Hornets’ possessions.
This was the second best per-possession defensive performance of the year against a Division I team, but it’s hard to pat Michigan on the back too much given that this is presumably the worst team that it will play this season.
Michigan is back in action on Tuesday night at the Crisler Center to host Northern Kentucky, another opponent that has yet to pick up a win over a Division I team this season.
- Caris LeVert: LeVert bounced back after his worst outing of the year at SMU and finished with a team-high 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting with five assists, four rebounds and one turnover. It was a routine performance in a game where Michigan didn’t need much out of its star.
- Zak Irvin: Irvin continues to do everything other than hit jump shots. He was 6-of-8 inside the arc and grabbed eight rebounds in the win — finishing at the basket on drives and backcuts with a few nice dunks — but Michigan needs him to find consistency on his jumpshot before Big Ten play. The good news is that Irvin has been almost as efficient as he was last year despite shooting 18% on threes — thanks to his improved assist rate and 58% 2-point shooting percentage — the bad news is that he’s shooting 18% on threes.
- Ricky Doyle: Michigan made an effort to get Doyle involved at the end of the first half and he did a good job of catching and finishing, even scoring on a hook shot. He had 10 points and three rebounds in 18 minutes of play and was clearly the Wolverines’ best big man on the day.
- Duncan Robinson: Earning his first start of the year, Robinson had 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting (3-5 3pt) and handed out four assists in the win including a nice drive-and-dish to Doyle. He threw down a dunk on a backcut and was an active passer and he’s reached the point where 3-of-5 long range shooting is a ‘routine’ game.
- Kam Chatman: Chatman was the first wing off the bench, hopping Dawkins in the rotation for the day, and played a great first half shift. He was active in multiple facets of the game knocking down mid-range shots, throwing backdoor passes, stepping out for a three, rebounding and picking up a block.
- Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman: Abdur-Rahkman played a quiet game early on, but got involved late when he knocked down a few three-pointers. It was good to see the perimeter shot start to fall, but it will be interesting to see if the 6-foot-3 sophomore can get more involved creating for his teammates. He had two assists on the day while five other Wolverines had 3 or more, but his on-ball defense continues to be some of the best on the roster.
- Andrew Dakich: Dakich burned his redshirt with the Spike Albrecht news and gave Michigan 20 minutes off the bench, finishing with 4 points on 2-of-3 shooting and three assists. It will be interesting to see how many minutes Dakich plays in closer games (Michigan also experimented with a LeVert-Irvin backcourt at times), but he was able to give the Wolverines solid minutes today.
- Aubrey Dawkins: Dawkins was relegated to the bench for Robinson and he continues to look out of sorts and lacking confidence. He was 2-of-8 from the floor with his lone three-point make coming late in the game and he missed a pair of dunks that he was more than capable of finishing. He’s reached double figures just twice in the last nine games and the majority of that production has come at the end of blowouts. Dawkins did hand out three assists, but he also turned the ball over twice in the win.
- Moritz Wagner: Wagner has struggled to find himself again after three terrific games in the Bahamas. He didn’t turn the ball over today, but was 1-of-5 from the floor and lacked the confidence and comfort around the rim that he showed earlier this year. There will be bumps in the road for the German freshman, but Michigan will need some of his versatility in conference play.
- Mark Donnal: Donnal played eight minutes as the third big with Wilson sidelined and grabbed three rebounds, but missed both shot attempts.
- Injury updates: Derrick Walton warmed up and then sat out, there’s no reason to rush him back at this point. DJ Wilson joined the walking wounded with an injured ankle and sat out with his foot in a boot (update here) while Spike Albrecht was on the bench now permanently in street clothes.