Saddi Washington dug into the old bag of Beileinisms last week when he brought up the need for late-season outlier performances from Michigan’s bench.
“We need one or two outliers to step up,” the Wolverine assistant coach said. “It’s not going to be the same one or two guys game in and game out, but we are confident in their preparation.”
On Tuesday night, in the most important game of the season up to date, those outliers stepped up.
Frankie Collins, Terrance Williams and Brandon Johns were thrust into key first-half roles and answered the bell. Collins was forced into action almost immediately after DeVante’ Jones committed two fouls in under three minutes. He pushed the pace, got downhill, made some of his best passes of the year, and sparked the Wolverines with key plays on both ends of the court.
Terrance Williams hadn’t made a three since January 26th, but he buried three on three first-half attempts. Brandon Johns’ final season started with high expectations but he was teetering on the fringes of the rotation in the final regular-season week of his career. He had made one basket in the last five games, but calmly knocked down a no hesitation three.
Michigan made the right adjustments to its game plan and had the unguardable star player — Dickinson finished with a career-high 33 points — but the Wolverines ran their rivals out of the gym because their oft-maligned bench stepped up at a do-or-die point in the season.