Michigan Basketball: Gut reactions from a blowout win over Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Panthers
Michigan Wolverines

Michigan basketball was a little off in the first half at times but blew the doors off Pittsburgh in the second and rolled to an easy win. Here are our gut reactions. 

That was some second half for Michigan basketball.

Leading by just six points at the half, Michigan basketball dominated in the second half as 3-point shots started falling and the defensive effort really picked up.

Everyone will focus on the offensive output in the second half (53 points). Michigan made nine 3-pointers total and everyone was getting involved — Joey Baker, Jett Howard, Terrance Williams, and Kobe Bufkin. Yet, the defense really picked it up and held the Panthers to just 28 points, most of which were scored after the game was no longer competitive.

Jett Howard showed he’s still a freshman with a stretch of seven points and two fouls in the first few minutes of the second half. However, Williams and Jaelin Llewellyn started to get hot. Williams scored and drilled a 3-pointer (on an assist from Llewellyn), while Llewellyn scored twice as Michigan pushed a six-point to 13.

Bufkin was then responsible for the next eight points. He scored on an old-fashioned three-point play, made two free throws, and assisted Hunter Dickinson on a 3-point play. A 3-pointer from Joey Baker soon after, plus another bucket by Bufkin and one from Dug McDaniel pushed the lead to 20, and the Wolverines never looked back.

At one point, after another Joey Baker 3-ball, Michigan went up by 30. The lead got as big as 32 in the 91-60 victory. Jett led Michigan basketball with 17 points. He was 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. Baker and Bufkin added 14.

Baker was incredible off the bench and managed his 14 points in just 22 minutes. He was 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. Dug McDaniel was also stellar off the bench with eight points, five rebounds, and eight assists in 21 minutes.

Dickinson didn’t score much but he didn’t need to. The 7-footer wound up with 11 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. The Wolverines also held Pittsburgh to less than a point-per-possession and here are our gut reactions.

Gut reactions from Michigan basketball win

  • If Michigan can play like it did in the second half consistently this season, it will have a viable shot of winning the Big Ten.
  • Kobe Bufkin really stood out and this was exactly what we needed to see — scoring, creating, and his defense was better too.
  • Dug McDaniel got some quality minutes and played his best game. He actually looked comfortable running the show. He still needs to shoot better.
  • When Jett and Joey make 3s, the offense is unstoppable.
  • You can add Terrance Williams to that mix. His early 3-ball in the second half was huge and he had hardly any space. Great find by Llewellyn and a great make by T-Will.
  • When T-Will plays well, Michigan rarely loses.
  • Tarris Reed has the tools but needs to stop dribbling in the post so much. His defense shows some promise and he’s not a bad rim protector.
  • Michigan continues to throw different defensive looks at the right time and some mild pressure disrupted Pittsburgh early in the second half leading to 13 turnovers.
  • The 3-point defense was solid and looked like Michigan meaning low attempts and a lower percentage (30 percent on 6-of-20).
  • Michigan only turned it over six times (some in the last few minutes) so the point guard play was stellar, especially in the second half.
  • The offense in general was lights out and was over 1.3 PPP at one point.
  • It’s easy to forget that Jett Howard is a freshman.
  • This was a really encouraging win now it’s VCU or Arizona State in the final.
  • Go Blue!