Michigan doubled-up Maryland Eastern Shore on Saturday afternoon and in its second dominant performance against an overmatched team in as many games.
The Hawks were the lowest rated team on Michigan’s schedule and it showed. Michigan played its most efficient game of the season on offense and defense and coasted to a 98-49 win.
The Wolverines were led by Derrick Walton’s 21 points on 9 shots, but just about everyone got in the action as the 11 different Wolverines found the scoring column in the routine win.
Michigan’s offense was dominant from the opening jump. The Wolverines started hot from long distance, making 8 of their first 10 triples, but controlled the game in almost every other aspect as well. Facing an Eastern Shore team that ranks near the bottom of Division I in assisted baskets allowed, Michigan moved the ball very well and assisted on a season-high 28 of 34 made baskets. The Wolverines also pushed the tempo more than we’ve seen in other games, scoring 20 fast break points and exploiting a mediocre at best Maryland Eastern Shore transition defense.
The ball movement and transition play helped the Wolverines score 1.46 points per possession and shoot 71% on twos and 57% on threes for a 76.9 eFG% — their best per possession scoring and shooting performance of the season.
Michigan held the Hawks to .73 points per possession, their worst offensive performance of the season. At this point, I’m not really sure what we can analyze from Michigan shutting down a team like this. Maryland Eastern Shore came to Crisler with a bad offense and the Wolverines did what they were supposed to: held them to 33% two-point shooting, cleaned up the defensive glass and forced turnovers on over a fifth of their possessions.
There’s one more non-conference game remaining, a Thursday night tilt with Furman. Furman is ranked 169th per KenPom and appears to be considerably better than UCA or MDES, giving Michigan one final tune up before opening the Big Ten season at Iowa.
- Derrick Walton: I mentioned in the game preview that Walton had been in a bit of a mini-slump, but he busted out of it quickly. He hit a jab step three very early in the game and then just kept hitting from deep. He made 5-of-7 triples on the night and his confidence was soaring as he pushed the ball and distributed very well, finishing with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists to 1 turnover in the dominant performance.
- Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman: We’ve harped on how important it is for Abdur-Rahkman to develop as a passer and today we saw a big step as the 6-foot-3 junior tallied a career-high 10 assists to 0 turnovers in the win. The up-and-down style of the game played into his performance, but this was still an encouraging game by a guy who has been trying to carve out a role of late.
- DJ Wilson: DJ Wilson is officially the x-factor for how far this team goes. He’s bringing energy, finishing, rebounding and defense on a nightly basis at this point and continues to bring an element that has been absent from the roster for the last couple of years. He had a couple of big time dunks (including one over a MDES defender in transition), blocked two shots and scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
- Duncan Robinson: Robinson started for Abdur-Rahkman in what was apparently a clerical error, but he played well. He scored 17 points including a personal 9-0 run in the second half and his shooting stroke looks much more confident than it did early on this season.
- Zak Irvin: Irvin had a quiet game, but he was still efficient. He was 4-of-7 from the floor with one of his misses coming on a transition dunk attempt — perhaps one of the least efficient shots in his bag of tricks — and also grabbed 6 boards and handed out a pair of assists.
- Moritz Wagner: Wagner only played 13 minutes as he battled foul trouble in the first half, but the big man didn’t do anything to hurt his efficiency numbers. Michigan’s first basket of the game came on a kick out from Wagner out of the post and then he made all four shots that he took including a triple and a breakaway dunk off of a steal. The biggest key for Wagner continues to be staying out of foul trouble and staying on the floor.
- Xavier Simpson: We’re starting to see a bit more of Xavier Simpson and it’s becoming clear that his quick hands are perhaps his most valuable trait. He recorded three steals and also handed out 4 assists in the win.
- Mark Donnal: Donnal also battled foul trouble in the first half and scored 5 points in 10 minutes.
- Ibi Watson: Watson had a pair of dunks — one in transition and the other on a nice backcut — but missed both of his three-point attempts. He’s not confident with that shot right now and that’s going to make it hard for him to crack the rotation in conference play.
- Fred Wright-Jones: It was great to see the manager turned walk-on score his first points of the season on a late three.