Michigan Rolls Norfolk St. 63-44 in Sloppy Debut

Michigan Rolls Norfolk St. 63-44 in Sloppy Debut

Basketball

Michigan Rolls Norfolk St. 63-44 in Sloppy Debut

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – In John Beilein’s 800th win as a college head coach, he probably wishes Michigan’s season debut looked a little different.

Seven minutes into the Wolverines first game of the 2018-19 season, with two new banners hanging up in the rafters of Crisler Center, backup center Austin Davis went to the line to shoot a free throw in a one-and-one situation. The ball bounced off the rim and into the hands of the referee. The players stood still on the key, but Davis, aware that it was a one-and-one, rushed up, stripped the ball, laid it up and laid it in.

It was a moment of both mindfulness and absent-mindedness that was on display all evening by the maize and blue. Of course, in the first game of the season, especially with three new starters, momentary lapses are to be expected, if not anticipated. But the majority of lapses weren’t of the absent-minded variety – they were in scoring.

At his first press conference of the season, on the day Michigan held its first practice, Beilein said that the team was still looking for shooters post the team’s trip to Spain. Well – they still seem to be looking. The Wolverines shot 36.7% in the game, and the team was 6 of 23 from 3 point land, as well.

While third-year center Jon Teske is continuing to make his presence felt on the floor as he gains more experience – as was evident by his team-leading 13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks and 1 steals. But with all the excitement about what second-year guard Jordan Poole would be and how much fellow guard Charles Matthews had worked on free throws this offseason, both situations seem to be a work in progress.

However, it’s always worth remembering: John Beilein teams are always a work in progress at this point of the season. It’s not until March that the product looks anywhere close to finished. Michigan still won handily — defeating Norfolk St. 63-44, but after getting out to a 30-7 lead to start the game, there’s still some work to do.

On the other hand, Michigan’s defense remained mostly stellar, holding the Spartans to 30% shooting on the game, with the Wolverines getting into lanes, keeping their hands busy and active on the boards. The maize and blue finished with 52 rebounds, 34 on the defensive side of the ball.

Despite moments and stretches where the Wolverines didn’t look like the Final Four team from a year ago, and didn’t look as sharp as even a still-jelling, somewhat inexperienced team should against a 14-19 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference team, there’s still glimpses of what we can expect once this squad starts to find its equilibrium.

So, perhaps Michigan, ranked No. 19 in the AP Poll, isn’t as good as its Final Four brethren from a year ago. But that team came into its first game of the season unranked, and yet found itself in San Antonio.

But there’s a lot of work to do, and thankfully, Michigan’s schedule early on allows for that to happen.

Standouts:

C Jon Teske – Led the team with _ points, _ rebounds, _ steals and _ blocks.

F Ignas Brazdeikis – true freshman staring in his first game didn’t manage to have the best game percentage-wise, but still put up _ points in _ minutes.

Note:

  • F Ignas Brazdeikis, F Brandon Johns, G David DeJulius, G Adrian Nunez and C Colin Castleton all made their debuts.
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