Michigan lost to top-ranked Kansas 75-64. The Jayhawks flexed their muscle and athleticism during a 20-6 run midway through the first half to take a 41-20 lead. That run would prove to be the difference in the game. Michigan closed the half with a 10-1 run to cut the lead to 42-30 at the break. The Wolverines scratched and clawed but their continued ice-cold three-point shooting prevented them from ever challenging for the lead.
Michigan was a chilly 5-28 (18%) on their three-pointers. Had they been able to knock down somewhere closer to the 10 triples I predicted they would need to win this game, they would have had a chance.
Kansas was led by Marcus Morris’ double-double (23 points, 10 rebounds). Senior guard Sherron Collins also played very well scoring 19 points on 7-10 shooting. Super-frosh Xavier Henry chipped in 15 points for the Jayhawks.
The story of the game for Michigan is what it has been all season, the frigid three-point shooting. John Beilein has said for the Wolverines to win games like this they have to hit 8 to 10 triples. Early on it appeared that Stu Douglass might be on his way to a good shooting night when he drilled his first two three-pointers. Unfortunately Douglass would misfire on his next 5 attempts and finish 2-7 from beyond the arc. Zack Novak continues his shooting slump as he was 0-4 on three-balls.
Despite the three-point woes, Novak was an animal in this game. He pulled down 7 rebounds, notched 2 steals, and drew two charges with his determination and hustle. Novak did score 8 points as he was 4 for 6 on his two-point attempts.
There are some positives for Michigan to take from this game:
- DeShawn Sims played well scoring 19 points and grabbing 7 boards. Sims did all of his damage in the paint and he did it by using a nice array of moves.
- Michigan’s 1-3-1 defense was effective in causing turnovers and helping Michigan make a couple of runs.
- Although he did not start, Darius Morris played well. Morris shook off an air-balled three on his first shot to finish 4-7 from the field with 9 points, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds. Morris also played with poise and under control in a hostile environment against a tough opponent.
- Michigan battled on the boards as Kansas edged them 37-34 in rebounding.
- The Wolverines came up with 10 steals and only turned the ball over 10 times.
Now Michigan heads back home with a 5-5 record with a game against Coppin State on Tuesday before heading into the Big Ten schedule. Michigan’s brutal schedule will serve them well as they head into conference play. They have faced a variety of tough teams on the road, at home, and at a neutral site. The Wolverines have faced adversity and showed signs that they are indeed that one click away, like Manny Harris said they were. That one little click appears to be three-point shooting.