Michigan vs UCLA: Wolverines get a bounce-back win in overtime

Basketball

Michigan basketball (8-3) bounced back for a 78-69 win over UCLA (7-2) in overtime at the Crisler Center on Saturday.

The Wolverines got a much needed win with Texas as the next team on their schedule. Had U-M lost this game, the season probably would’ve went downhill, but the team fought back. It says a lot about their toughness.

The Wolverines came back from a 15-point deficit behind F Moe Wagner and G Charles Matthews.

Michigan fans should probably get used to hearing that.

Charles Matthews needs to be more aggressive … for the whole game

Until there was about 13:00 remaining in the second half, Charles Matthews seemed passive. Then, he ripped off 8 straight points to cut the UCLA lead to 6. Matthews wasn’t without his miscues though. After his run, he missed two free throws and traveled on back-to-back possessions.

In the second half, and overtime, it felt like Matthews was a different player. He was attacking the basket, and hit a couple of big pull up jumpers.

The most concerning part of Matthews’ game was his free throw shooting, as he finished?2-of-10 at the line.

With his play style, Matthews is going to get to the charity stripe a lot. He’ll need to shoot better than 20-percent at the stripe for it to be beneficial, though.

Why Duncan Robinson over Isaiah Livers?

Your guess is as good as anyone’s.

The assumption is that Head Coach John Beilein likes that Robinson is a veteran, but it has started to get ridiculous.

Duncan Robinson: 2 points (1-7), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover in?34 minutes

Isaiah Livers 0 points (0-2), 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 turnovers in?11 minutes

Sure, Livers didn’t bring much offensively this game, but he offers so much more than scoring. Give him 23 more minutes, like Robinson, he’ll probably score more than 2 points.

Robinson did have 4 steals against a sloppy Bruins offense, and Livers struggled a little defensively.

Overall, I’d still take Livers over Robinson.

Free Throws were a huge problem

Obviously, you can’t go back and say, “If Michigan hit __ free throws then they would’ve won by more”, for sure because the game is played differently. That being said, Michigan only made 8 of their 22 free throws.

Some might say that Charles Matthews is bringing the team numbers down because he shoots so many free throws. Fine. Take away Matthews totally.

The Wolverines are still only 6 of 12.

50-percent is unacceptable from the line, and this team won’t get far without improving their free throw shooting.

Zavier Simpson AND Eli Brooks?

The freshman got the start as expected, but Simpson ended up playing more minutes that Brooks.

Discussion around the point guards this year has always been Zavier Simpson OR Eli Brooks, but both of the point guards played well.

Simpson clamped Aaron Holiday, about as much as you can, when he was on the floor. The biggest advantage that Brooks had over Simpson coming into the game was his ability to shoot, but the sophomore Simpson was 2-of-2 from three. His full stat line was: 15 points (6-for-9), 2 rebounds, and 4 steals.

Eli Brooks still played well. He hit a huge three in the second half to stop UCLA’s momentum, and he hit a couple big free throws after attacking the basket. The true freshman had 7 points (2-of-5), 3 assists, and 1 steal.

For the first time this season, Michigan’s struggles didn’t seem point guard related.

Former Michigan player Anthony Wright has a pretty good idea regarding the two guards

Quick Notes?

  • Teske had 2 offensive rebounds in only 10 minutes of game time
  • Jordan Poole was 0-of-3 from the field. He’ll look bounce back against Texas as his season has been promising.
  • Moe Wagner was Michigan’s leading scorer with 23, followed by Matthews (20), and Zavier Simpson (15).
  • MAAR struggled from the field: 8 points on 2-of-10 shooting.

Michigan (8-3) plays the unranked Texas Longhorns (6-2) at 8pm on December 12 in Austin, Texas.

The Longhorns have only lost to No. 14 Gonzaga, and No. 1 Duke.

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