Saturday, February 16, 2019

Green’s five takeaways from No. 6 Michigan’s 65-52 win over No. 24 Maryland

Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

In front of 12,707 vibrant fans at Crisler Arena, the No. 6 Michigan Wolverines (23-3, 12-3 Big Ten) bounced back in style with a 65-52 win over the No. 24 Maryland Terrapins (19-7, 10-5 Big Ten). Here are my five things to take away from Ann Arbor.

1) A very Teske Saturday:

Despite the usual performance on defense with three blocks, John Teske struggled from the field for the majority of the game until a stretch of seven straight points late in regulation, capped off by his first three-pointer on the seventh try to put Michigan ahead 57-46.

Teske’s outburst proved to be the difference in an up and down struggle for Michigan’s offense going 42 percent (25-of-59) from the field.

Wolverines coach John Beliein complemented Teske for keeping Terrapins forward Bruno Fernando in check for the majority of the game on defense.

“Jon did a tremendous job on [Bruno] Fernando in the first half and in the second half, he got the ball on the block 15 times and scored nine points, which is something we will take every single day,” Beilein said.

Teske’s play coupled with a large deficit sunk the Terrapins in and coach Mark Turgeon gave credit to the Wolverines.

“Teske was tremendous protecting the rim, using ball screen defense and was good,” Turgeon said. We built too big of a hole and you can’t do that against a team that good. They deserved the win.”

2) Ups and downs of Fernando:

Fernando’s streak of seven straight double-doubles came to an end as the sophomore finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, but Michigan’s defense used multiple players to keep the sophomore at bay with a scoreless first half on 0-of-4 from the field.

Adjustments were made at the half by Turgeon as Fernando was able to find other paths to get involved with six points in the first 5:12 in the second half as Maryland remained within single digits. Despite Fernando’s involvement, the Terrapins could not get any closer than three points, which left Turgeon frustrated for a full effort in one half, not two.

“[Bruno] let his offense affect his defense, which left us playing four on five out there defensively,” Turgeon said. “He has been one of our best defenders, which was the most disappointing. I can handle missed jump hooks, but you have to bring it on the other end.”

3) Matthews and Simpson delivered:

On a day where points came at a minimum, Charles Matthews proved to be the consistent force for Michigan with a team-high 14 points, on 7-of-12 shooting in 34 minutes, while Zavier Simpson finished with a game-high eight assists.

Beilein compared and contrasted the duo’s differences in terms of philosophy and how they handle adversities.

“[Zavier]’s leadership right now is as good as anyone we have ever have and Charles is not as demonstrative and doesn’t talk as much, while Zavier is talking,” Beilein said. “We let them talk among each other on the timeout and Zavier has that it factor you need and the team respects that.”

4) End of half field goal drought for Michigan:

The Wolverines missed nine of their last 11 shots to close the half, which kept the Terrapins in contention with a 27-18 score after 20 minutes.

Maryland capitalized in the second half as it trimmed a once 15-point deficit down to three, but back-to-back baskets from Poole and Simpson uplifted Michigan’s offense. 

The Wolverines did not commit any turnovers, which helped maintain control of the lead throughout as a result. 

“When was the last time we had a game where we are at 16 to six in turnovers,” Beilein said. “The ball still sticks at times, but are moving better and seeing each other, which is how we will have to play.”

5) Michigan’s transition offense:

The first few minutes of the game witnessed Teske putting his fingerprints on defense by changing Maryland’s shot selection and forced a couple of turnovers, which led to a 12-2 start by Michigan.

Defensive stops continued to lead to easy transition baskets for the Wolverines as they led wire-to-wire in which they converted 14 points off the Terrapins’ 16 turnovers.

The grind of Big Ten play has begun to hit its apex as a pair of games against rival Michigan State and a trip to Maryland still await Michigan and more consistent performances will be needed in order to have a shot at winning the regular season title.