Holding 40-33 lead at halftime Wednesday night, Michigan entered the locker room and simply smiled. Ball State had finished the first half on a 19-6 run punctuated by sloppy defense, but the Wolverines remained confident.
This wasn’t like Sunday’s overtime escape against Oakland. The energy was higher all week in practice and the focus was better, senior forward Isaiah Livers explained after the game.
So even when Michigan briefly faltered and Howard “got on” his players, as freshman center Hunter Dickinson put it, the Wolverines knew a bounce back was imminent.
“The coaching staff, and coach Howard mainly, he comes in and he’s not in there pointing fingers at people,” Livers said. “He’s going to challenge you, yes, but he’s gonna get the whole team together and just rally back out, just hit them first like in the first half, and we did that when we came out in the second half.”