For the second straight game, Michigan’s basketball game featured a furious second-half comeback by the road team. Unfortunately, Michigan was the home team this time, as the Wolverines squandered a 17-point first-half lead to fall to Northwestern by a score of 68-62. A few observations from one of the most frustrating games I’ve watched as a Michigan fan:
- Don’t put this one on DeShawn Sims, who broke his trend of disappearing in losses by dropping 17 points (on 6-12 shooting) and eight rebounds. He was very effective on the block, but Michigan just couldn’t find ways to get him the ball in the second half. The one criticism you could make is that Sims seemed to take himself out of the game in the second half, seemingly frustrated with the lack of touches.
- Manny Harris also played very well, leading the team with 24 points and nine rebounds. Every time Michigan needed a basket to stop the bleeding from a Northwestern run, it was Harris that took control. Unfortunately, he couldn’t match Northwestern’s hot second-half shooting by himself.
- Another loss, another game where nobody stepped up as a third scoring option: After Harris and Sims, Michigan’s leading scorer was Zack Novak, who scored seven points on 2-8 shooting. Stu Douglass managed just six points (on 2-6 shooting) in 38 minutes, and starter Laval Lucas-Perry was held scoreless in 22 minutes. The team needs someone to step up, and none of the role players seem willing (or able) to do so.
- Despite the late turnovers, I was pleasantly surprised with Darius Morris’ play. He led the team with seven assists and hit two huge threes down the stretch to give Michigan a chance — he took those late shots with a lot of confidence, something I haven’t seen from him until now.
- Where was Zack Gibson? With Sims looking dominant at times and frustrated at others, you would think John Beilein would want to put in his other post scoring option. Instead, Gibson saw only four minutes of play, scoring two points and also dropping a perfect pass from Morris that would have been an easy two. With no bench depth up front, Michigan needs more from Gibson.
Programming Note: My recruiting updates will be posted tomorrow and Wednesday, as the first full week of school has caught up to me a bit. Posting will be more timely, and regular, as I figure out my weekly schedule.