Four Takeaways From Michigan's Win Over Norfolk St.

Four Takeaways From Michigan's Win Over Norfolk St.

Basketball

Four Takeaways From Michigan's Win Over Norfolk St.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It wasn’t pretty, but in the end, Michigan got head coach John Beilein his 800th win in the season opener against Norfolk St., taking down the Spartans, 63-44.

Here’s our biggest takeaways from the game:

Michigan is still looking for shooters

John Beilein said in the preseason that his team was still looking for scorers, especially given the departures of Duncan Robinson, Moe Wagner and MAAR. Michigan certainly had open looks all night, but the ball managed to careen off the rim or the backboard – or players couldn’t quite finish.

The Wolverines shot just 36.7% on the night, and was 6 of 26 from three. Jordan Poole, who is now starting with Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman having exhausted his eligibility, finished with just 3 points, all on free throws, having gone 0-5 from the floor. Charles Matthews scored 10 points, and looked to be a factor early on, but only went 5 of 12 in the game.

Speaking of Matthews…

Charles Matthews and free throws are still not a compatible pairing

Matthews said that he worked all offseason on free throw shooting during the preseason, but it didn’t show on Tuesday night, as the fourth-year player went 0-5 from the stripe against Norfolk St.

Michigan head coach John Beilein said after the game:

“Charles is so much better than this – he was 5 for 6 the other day. He’s gotta get through it. It’s not a physical thing, it’s a mental thing, and we’ve got to keep working on them.

“The other guys, it’s more of a jitters thing. Charles is better than that and he will be as we go forward.”

The defense is still legit

There were a few moments where the defense seemed to take some plays off – mostly in the second half – but for the most part, the swarming, getting into passing lanes, we-don’t-let-you-do-anything-you-want-to-do mentality was in full display.

Now, granted, we’re talking about Norfolk St. here, not Texas A&M or Florida St., but considering it took nearly 8 minutes for Norfolk St. to even get on the board, and the embarrassing final score, it’s a sign that, despite losing Moe Wagner, MAAR and Duncan Robinson – whose defense came on as of late last year – these Wolverines are ready to continue being one of the toughest teams to score on this year.

Michigan held the Spartans to 24% shooting in the first half, but the Mid-Eastern Conference team was able to take advantage of some lapses in the second half – but not by much.

Jon Teske isn’t Moe Wagner, but he’s on his way

Perhaps one of the lone bright spots was Jon Teske, who led the team with 13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks and 1 steal.

He went 5-11 from the floor, but made plays down the stretch, and was certainly a presence in the middle. He’s certainly not Wagner, but it took the former Michigan star experience over a few years to turn into the force he eventually became. Will Teske get there? We’ll see, but things are looking up, considering how much more assertive he’s become since arriving in Ann Arbor.

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