The Rockets came in unfazed to the Crisler center and went punch for punch in the first 20 minutes until Michigan basketball came out firing in the second for the double-figure victory.
Toledo jumped out on top 9-2 in the NIT opener for the two schools that only reside within an hour away from each other. Later in the half, the Rockets would get ahead by as many as nine, but the Wolverines closed it to within a deuce at the break. Michigan basketball nailed three triples to start the second in route to an 11-0 run and a lead that they never relinquished in a 90-80 win.
Here are the three takeaways.
1. Joey Baker had a milestone kind of night
Stepping in for Jett Howard, Baker was pinpoint accurate in his starting role for the Wolverines. He shot 73% on the night, 8-11 from the field and 5-7 from deep. 21 points in all and he did what Howard is expected to do when he is available in the lineup. It was Baker’s best performance of the season by a mile.
It was also talked about during the broadcast that he plans on applying for another year of eligibility to remain at Michigan for one more year. Dating back to his Duke days, Baker only appeared in four games during his freshman year there. This would be substantial for the 2023-24 version of Michigan basketball.
Dug McDaniel and Kobe Bufkin were the two others who combined for seven triples. 12 of the 13 came from this trio. Bufkin led all scorers with 23 and was two boards away from a double-double. When given the time, the backcourt of McDaniel and Bufkin will only get better with experience.