Michigan Basketball: Gut reactions, highlights from win over Buffalo

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Michigan basketball started fast against Buffalo but had to battle in the second half to hold off the Bulls and improve to 1-0.

At one point in the first half of Michigan basketball’s season opener on Wednesday, the Wolverines led by 24 points, and everything seemed to be going their way.

Caleb Houstan, the five-star freshman, started the game hot and scored eight points in the first few minutes on his way to a total of 11.

Hunter Dickinson did his thing and dominated down low which was the real difference in the game as he connected on 11 of 17 shots and finished with 27 points, as well as eight rebounds.

However, the guy that sort of saved the day for Michigan basketball was Terrance Williams.

Williams came off the bench to score 15 points and had some huge moments in the second half, including a defensive stop at the rim, followed shortly by a 3-pointer. Michigan led by five at the start of the sequence only to go up by eight.

It sparked a run and after a nice finish by Dickinson at the rim, Houstan made his second trey of the game which put the win on ice.

It wasn’t perfect, especially from a defensive perspective as the Wolverines surrendered way too many easy buckets driving to the hoop. But Michigan was very sharp in the first half and some of the highly-touted freshmen made their presence felt.

Rebounding was also an issue as the rebound battle was even and Buffalo actually had the edge on the offensive glass. U-M also turned it over more, but here’s a look at the gut reactions from Michigan basketball’s 88-76 win.

Gut reactions

  • Not backing away from the prediction of Hunter Dickinson as Big Ten Player of the Year. At all. He was dominant and he even showed a little range.
  • Caleb Houstan is smooth as butter. He had Michigan’s second-highest plus/minus behind DeVante Jones.
  • Jones was outstanding except for foul trouble. He was efficient on offense and active on defense. In short, he’s everything we expected. Just needs to watch the fouls.
  • The Terrance Williams breakout has arrived. He played like a starter tonight.
  • Brandon Johns played better than the box score might indicate.
  • Defensive rebounding needs to improve.
  • Point guard depth is a concern as tonight showed — U-M needs Jones to play 30 plus every single night.
  • Moussa Diabate will be hard to keep off the floor.
  • This Michigan team is deep and talented, plus a win is a win.
  • Go Blue!

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