At that point, Michigan was shooting 3-for-17 from the field and trailed No. 10 Oregon, 22-9. The wholesale sub felt more like a plea of desperation than a shrewd chess move.
But then, minutes later, Johns flew into the lane, skying for an offensive rebound, which he promptly kicked out to sophomore David DeJulius for a 3-pointer. Crisler Center had life. The team regained some pep in its step. The comeback was on.
Though Michigan ultimately fell short, 71-70 in overtime, it might have found a valuable answer to one of the more befuddling questions surrounding the team: How to maximize Brandon Johns.
“That’s one thing about coaching, you’ve got to look at the situations, what’s best for your team. Looking at time of possessions and then looking at overall what you need to make the adjustment in order to give your team a spark,” said Michigan coach Juwan Howard after the game. “And Brandon was that guy who I trust when he got in the ballgame, he would do something special for us. He’s been doing that throughout the year. Tonight was no surprise.”