Michigan basketball’s Eli Brooks and Hunter Dickinson lead the Wolverines to a 74-61 victory against UNLV.
Michigan basketball faced UNLV in the semifinals of the Roman Main Event late Friday night in Las Vegas in a tough, fast-paced game.
The Wolverines, on the other hand, proved to be the harder, quicker club and effectively rebounded from their season-opening defeat to Seton Hall at home on Tuesday.
No. 6 Michigan defeated UNLV 74-61, improving to 3-1 on the season. The Rebels were close throughout the night, but the Wolverines pulled away late, winning the rebounding battle, 33-24, and shooting 51 percent from the floor.
Eli Brooks led the Wolverinesthe Wolverines with 22 points, making 4 of 7 three-point attempts. Hunter Dickinson led the way for UNLV with 13 points and seven rebounds. With 2:49 remaining, a beautiful right-handed jump-hook from the right post gave Michigan a 67-59 advantage, probably sealing the game.
Michigan must adapt to these strategies. Seton Hall has a history of causing upsets.
Moussa Diabate, a freshman forward, made an immediate impact. A steal in the backcourt by freshman guard Kobe Bufkin led him and Diabate on a two-on-one fast break eight minutes into the first half. Diabate’s ferocious one-handed slam over centre David Muoka gave the Wolverines an early 15-11 lead.
Following the jam, Diabate regained his groove in the post, where he scored Michigan’s next four points. In the first half, the rookie prodigy went a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, finishing with 14 points (6-for-7 shooting), seven rebounds, and two blocks.
With little under three minutes remaining in the first half, the Wolverines started to pull away from the back-and-forth game, going on a 7-0 run to take a 35-23 lead.
The Rebels, on the other hand, fought back. They finished the half on a 9-0 run, highlighted by a step-back 3-pointer by Bryce Hamilton over Brooks seconds before the buzzer.
MICHIGAN COACH JUWAN HOWARD RECEIVES A FIVE-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION
HamiltonHamilton continued hot to start the second half, tying the game at 35 with a three-pointer and later went on a personal 5-0 run to tie the game at 40. UNLV’s offence was aided by Hamilton, who led the Rebels with 21 points on 9 of 23 shooting.
Michigan regained the lead midway through the second half. Brooks was fouled in the corner by the Rebels’ defence, and he hit an open three-pointer to give the Wolverines a nine-point advantage. Guard Michael Nuga drove into the paint as the tempo quickened. Diabate blocked his right-handed layup attempt strongly from behind.
The rookie big player kept UNLV at bay by snatching his own offensive rebound for an easy basket, which was followed by a long 2-pointer to push U-advantage M’s to 60-50.
The Wolverines will now face Arizona in the four-team invitational’s final game on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. (ESPN).
4 Basketball Preview: Michigan vs. UNLV This is going too far with the Cinderella metaphor.
Nobody anticipated Michigan to breeze through the nonconference schedule, especially after losing three and a half starters from last year’s Big Ten Championship squad. The beautiful thing about college basketball is that a few of early losses do not prohibit a school from accomplishing any of its objectives.
In reality, the loss against Seton HallSeton Hall on Wednesday might have some advantages. Juwan Howard was able to observe where his young team now sits and what areas needed to be improved. The Roman Main Event tournament in Las Vegas on Friday night/Saturday morning will provide the first chance to correct these errors.
A basketball game at 12:30 a.m. ET is absurd
yet this was the hand Michigan was given. The first game is against UNLV, who is ranked 128th in the US according to Kenpom. Arizona (No. 28) and Wichita State (No. 67) are on the opposite side of the bracket, with the championship and consolation game taking place on Sunday evening.
Michigan might have escaped with a victory over the Pirates despite some awful performance, including 3-of-15 shooting from long, 11 turnovers (the majority of which came in the second half), and 18 fouls (many very poorly timed). These problems eventually caught up with the Wolverines, and it is evident that there are some serious questions at this time.
Except for Hunter DickinsonHunter Dickinson and Eli Brooks, almost every player has something to prove this weekend in Vegas. DeVante Jones has showed glimpses of brilliance, but the toughest adjustment may be mental. His expensive turnovers and foolish fouls were the polar opposite of what a club expects from a senior guard. This is still a transition stage for the move, and sometimes experience is the only remedy.
Caleb Houstan, who led the team with 39 minutes versus Seton Hall, might be considered to be the same. Howard obviously wants the rookie sensation to iron out the kinks, but it’s been difficult to watch so far. So far, Houstan is shooting 38.5 percent from the field and has made several poor long-range shots. However, his greatest challenge has been defensively, as he has been consistently pushed by Pirates wings this week. Growing pains are to be anticipated and must be endured at this time.
Highlights of the game
To quickly mention Saturday’s opponent, UNLV isn’t very impressive on either end. The Rebels’ defence isn’t bad, but the Wolverines should have plenty of chances to get back on track. Brandon Johns and Terrance Williams, both of whom have a lot of promise but have yet to demonstrate regular performance, are two players who have an opportunity to establish themselves. There’s probably just one starting place between them, and although Johns hasn’t shown himself worthy, Williams hasn’t done enough to take it over either.
Expect Michigan to lock down on the opposite end of the floor. Seton Hall only scored 0.97 PPP, indicating that the game was really lost on the opposite side of the ball. UNLV enters the game rated 164th in offensive efficiency, in the 200s in two-point percentage, and near the bottom of the field from beyond the three-point line. This is a game where the defence should lead the attack.