The Michigan Wolverines rode the backs of Max Biefeldt and Zak Irvin as they downed Bucknell in the second game of this season to advance to 2-0.
Matchup: Michigan Wolverines vs. Bucknell Bison
Records: 1-0, 1-0
Starting Five: 1- Derrick Walton Jr., 2-Kam Chatman, 3-Caris LeVert, 4- Zak Irvin, 5- Mark Donnal
Summary: Everyone on the Michigan basketball team is now married… to defense. At least, that’s the case according to assistant coach Bacari Alexander. The marriage spiel was included in BA’s pre-game speech. Coach Beilein also harped on defense before the game. The Michigan coaching staff wasn’t happy with the team’s defensive performance last game, so that was their focus coming into this matchup.
Coach Beilien warned us that Bucknell plays like Hilldale, but is more talented and athletic. That may be true, but we didn’t get to see it. Michigan dominated this game from the get-go. Zak Irvin started the scoring for Michigan with an early mid-range two-pointer. Michigan didn’t let up. They shot 55 percent in the first half, including a surprising contribution from Max Beilfeldt, who played in his first game of the year. The first two shots Beildfelt attempted and made were three-pointers from the top of the key. That’s a great sign for the maize and blue. He ended the first half with 13 points.
The biggest bright spot of the night for the Wolverines was their defense. They played very well on the defensive end. There was a noticeable change with their effort on defense. There was a lot switching and they did much better with box-outs and close-outs. They were also active on the glass and really showed their length at certain points. Michigan was so good on the defensive end that they actually left the Bison scoreless until the 16:23 mark in the first half. At the half Bucknell had only tallied 19 points.
Michigan started the second half slowly, but they got back into the groove of things eventually. Caris LeVert didn’t have a good shooting night, but he did contribute in other ways. He had six points, six rebounds and six assists. Irvin played tremendous and Derrick Walton Jr. was noticeably more aggressive in his offensive game. The Wolverines did a pretty good job keeping up their effort on defense all game. One thing to be wary of is that Michigan did settle a bit on their jump shots late in the game, so that’s something they have to improve. It didn’t hurt them in this game, but it will if it continues during the Big Ten stretch.
Final Score: 77-53
FG percentage – 45.3%
Three point percentage – 44.4%
Committed turnovers – 6
Total rebounds – 36
Offensive rebounds – 11
Defensive rebounds- 25
Turnover percentage – 9.1%
Opponent’s turnover percentage – 25.8%
PPP – 1.167
OPPP – 0.803
Zak Irvin – 23 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist
Max Beildfelt – 18 points, 3 rebounds
Derrick Walton Jr. 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists
Next Opponent: The Detroit Titans