On a night in which a lot went wrong for Michigan — namely, an anemic offense — the Wolverines withstood their self-inflicted wounds, surviving equally problematic Penn State, 58-57.
“They came in here and won a dog fight,” Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry said.
Here are five takeaways from the victory:
Defense paves the way
The game had the early makings of a high-scoring affair, particularly on Penn State’s end. When Jalen Pickett drilled a wide-open 3-pointer with 3:56 to play in the first half, the Nittany Lions had already notched 34 points and built an 11 point lead.
Michigan’s defense seemed hapless. Then, something flipped.
The Wolverines held Penn State scoreless for the next ten minutes, a stretch that bridged both halves. Over that span, Michigan managed to erase an 11-point deficit and mount a 4-point lead.
“We did it with defense, because defensively in the first 10 minutes in the ballgame, they didn’t feel us,” Juwan Howard said. “… At halftime, we said it’s too easy.”