After struggling to hit shots a matter of days ago in the season opener against UMass-Lowell, the Michigan Basketball team, led by downright superhuman performances from Caris LeVert and Nik Stauskas, bounced back with a resounding 93-59 win against South Carolina State Tuesday night. The duo was responsible for 34 of the Wolverines 59 first half points, each connecting on five 3-point field goals on their way to 17 points apiece before the first horn sounded.
A team that put up only 69 points days ago, Michigan posted 59 first half points and finished Tuesday’s impressive performance above the 50% shooting mark from the field, on top of a noteworthy 53% from beyond the arc.
Equally impressive for yet another night was the defensive effort for Michigan, who held the Bulldogs to 28% shooting from the field in the first half, and generally controlled the game pace throughout.
The Wolverines’ preference for up-tempo basketball was evident again as they capitalized on outstanding defense and incendiary speed to exploit South Carolina St. in transition.
1. Caris LeVert: On top of the absolutely stellar shooting performance from beyond the arc (started out 5-for-5 from downtown), LeVert maintained his intensity on defense throughout the game, and was responsible for a multitude of points off turnovers and in transition. A career-high 24 points for LeVert makes him a definite pick for ‘Player of the Game’.
2. Nik Stauskas: LeVert’s partner-in-crime in three-point territory, Stauskas shot the lights out, connecting on 5-of-6 attempts from downtown on his way to a career-high 23 points. Six rebounds and 5 assists contributed to a solid all-around performance from the Beast of the Great White North.
3. Jon Horford: He may not be the name most people would expect to see on a top performers list after a Michigan win, but Horford turned heads against South Carolina State to the tune of a career best 15, that’s right, 15 rebounds. A decisive presence in the paint, Horford controlled the boards and finished a mere point shy of a double-double.
Glenn Robinson III- GR3 was again a dominant force on both ends of the court, ending one rebound shy of a double-double, and adding on the occasional highlight play or emphatic slam.
Derrick Walton, Jr.- His tenacity and efforts in the paint were worth noting. We saw him really power through the lane and take contact, also exhibiting some of his blistering quickness and agility.
What We Learned
In the post game press conference, Coach John Beilein lauded the team’s versatility and flexibility, noting the wide-ranging abilities of guys like LeVert or GR3, who are consistently forced to fluctuate between guard, wing and low block responsibilities. In one sequence, we’ve seen these guys pull down rebounds, advance the ball through a press, and capitalize on the other end. Michigan’s depth ensures a solid supply of interchangeable pieces to match up with various sorts of lineups.
Michigan takes on Iowa State in their first road game of the season Sunday Nov. 17 before participating in the annual Puerto Rico Tip-Off over Thanksgiving.
-The Wolverines converted on 15-of-28 attempts from 3-point range, tied for 2nd most in team history. Michigan has made 16 3’s on two separate occasions (2008 & 2010)
-Max Bielfeldt’s only basket of the evening was a three off the glass as the game wound down. That was his first career 3-pointer. See video below.
-This is the fourth consecutive game in which Caris LeVert has tied or set a career high for points.
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