Almost everything went right for Michigan basketball in its Legends Classic opener against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, playing its cleanest and most complete game of the young season.
Just about everything that went wrong for Michigan in its Legends Classic championship game on Thursday against Arizona State, opening the ice cold game from the field and looking disjointed on both ends of the floor.
The Wolverines started the game 3 of 20 from the floor and 2 of 8 from the free throw line, trailed by 21 before halftime and never closed, losing their first game of the season 87-62 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Hunter Dickinson had 14 points and five rebounds and Jett Howard scored 12 for No. 21 Michigan (3-1) to lead. Desmond Cambridge scored a game-high 20 points, followed by 19 points from DJ Horne and 15 from Austin Nunez and 13 from Luther Muhammed to drive the Sun Devils.
The 25-point loss was UM’s largest margin of victory under Juwan Howard.
No bench help to speak of
The Wolverines only got 28 total points from their bench in the first two games of the season, so Wednesday’s 34 bench points was a welcome change of pace. On Thursday, UM was back to its reserve struggles, getting just five points in the first half and 22 on the evening from non-starters, 15 of which came in garbage time late in the game.
In fairness, almost everyone struggled early on.
Jett Howard made a 3-pointer from the corner to open the scoring and Jaelin Llewellyn hit a slashing layup early in the game to stay within two points, but the next point – another Howard three-ball with 14:34 to play in the half. make it a 15-8 game – if Michigan would last score for a while.
UM wouldn’t make another basket until the 7:13 mark of the first half when Hunter Dickinson had a miss of his own to stop a Sun Devil run 24-6. The surge came in a flurry, as ASU connected on seven consecutive field goals to open the game 11 of 15 from the floor.
Arizona State made 8-of-14 three-pointers in the first half and Michigan made just 9-of-30 field goal attempts.
Michigan led, 46-28, at the half and wouldn’t get closer than 15 points the rest of the way.
An old friend
Frankie Collins, the former Michigan point guard who entered the transfer window just two days after Llewellyn announced he was transferring to Ann Arbor, was in foul trouble for much of the night, but was in action when he was on the court.
He got the ball in the paint at the start of the second half, pretending as if he was going to dribble out, before quickly turning on a dime, blowing by the defender and finishing an uncontested layup. He finished with four points and five goals and
Cambridge, which was 0-for-10 on 3-pointers entering the game, went 4-for-8 Thursday. Horne, who made just 3 of 15 shots Wednesday vs. VCU, went 8 of 14 from the floor.
Nunez, who went 3-of-5 from three and 6-of-10 from the floor, had a breakout game when he scored up and under a layup with Joey Baker hitting him in transition. It capped an 8-0 Sun Devils run in the second half and gave them a 68-43 lead.
Michigan cold from start to finish
One of Michigan’s woes a season ago was 3-point shooting, making just 33.9% of them. After making a season-high nine 3s on Wednesday, the Wolverines had their worst shooting night of the year, making just 4 of 21 from behind the line and shooting a season-worst 32% from the field.
Dickinson, who has consistently been double teamed this season, was awash with his active hands and long arms all night. He had to work for his team-high 14 points on 6-for-14 shooting.
He and Howard scored 24 of the teams first 34 points but managed just two more the rest of the way.
Outside of Lewellyn, who scored five points in the first half, Michigan did not get any points from its next starter until the second half. Kobe Bufkin opened the night 0-for-6 from the floor and didn’t score until he made an and-1 with 15:35 left in the second half.
Terrance Williams, captain, got his first points on a tough step-back jumper with 8:26 to play in the game and finished the game with four points.
Contact Tony Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @realtonygarcia.
This article originally appeared on the Detroit Free Press: Juwan Howard’s worst loss ever in Michigan basketball