The Michigan men’s basketball team traveled to New York this week to compete in the Legends Classic alongside Pittsburgh, VCU and Arizona State. The Wolverines won their first game, defeating Pitt, 91-60. Here are three takeaways from the win.
If he hasn’t already, Jett Howard has arrived
Jett Howard showed great signs of skill in Michigan’s exhibition win, and in its season opener, and while Howard was held to a nine-point game against Eastern Michigan, the freshman showed again in the win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. Howard had 10 points in the first half of the game, and the 6-foot-8 star came out on a tear to start the second half.
Howard scored seven quick points in the second half, including a four-point play. Although the novelist picked up his second, third and fourth fouls early in the second half, he had already made his mark in this competition.
The rising star has already established himself as one of the best players on this Michigan team, and it should be fair to say that through regular season games, the freshman has exceeded expectations by a long shot. Michigan fans should be excited to watch Howard play this season.
Michigan can hit you in a variety of ways
Hunter Dickinson wasn’t particularly dominant, and Michigan still won this game by a significant margin. The Wolverines led by just six at halftime, but extended their lead to more than 20 points with 10 minutes to play in the game. Dickinson finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, but a strong team effort from the rest of the Wolverines helped them to the Legends Classic final.
Howard finished with 17, Kobe Bufkin and Joey Baker added 14, Jaelin Llewellyn and Dug McDaniel each had eight, and Terrance Williams finished with seven. Dickinson isn’t going to score 30 every night like he did against Eastern Michigan, and Michigan has shown that it has other types of offense.
Dickinson was able to rest most of the second half, which normally wouldn’t be anything to write home about, but Michigan will take the floor in just about 24 hours to take on the winner of VCU and Arizona State take, and Dickinson – and all. the other starters – it’s vital to stay as fresh as possible. Michigan was able to pull away and allow its younger players to gain valuable experience.
Bench production has increased
One of the takeaways from Michigan’s win over Eastern Michigan last week was that the bench production was pretty poor. The starters combined for 79 of Michigan’s 88 points Friday night against Eastern Michigan, and the bench was almost non-existent.
On Wednesday, however, the Michigan bench came to life. Now, to be fair, the bench players did get to see a lot more of the floor in Wednesday night’s game compared to Friday, but the performances were very solid.
The bench combined for 34 of Michigan’s 91 points Wednesday night in the Wolverines’ run over the Panthers. It was a much better performance from players like Baker and McDaniel, specifically. From now on, Michigan’s bench will have to step up, not only in blowout games, but also in close contests. The Wolverines could use a little more scoring from their bench players last week, but they improve to 3-0 with a statement win over Pittsburgh.
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