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Michigan basketball: breaking down the Wolverines’ 10th win

On Sunday, Michigan basketball earned its 10th win of the season with a 85-78 victory over the Northwestern Wildcats.



Jan 15, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Dug McDaniel (0) dribbles in the first half against the Northwestern Wildcats at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan basketball ended a two-game losing skid with a well fought victory over the Northwestern Wildcats (12-5 overall, 3-3 Big Ten). This raises the Wolverines’ Big Ten record to 4-2 and their overall record to 10-7.

The Wolverines took good advantage of the 3-ball, won the rebound battle, and stayed out of foul trouble. Despite some turnover issues in the first half, Michigan kept it close until the very end before pulling away with an 85-78 victory.

Michigan’s Strong Shooting

The Michigan basketball team had a strong start offensively, draining three 3-pointers in the first four minutes of play. The offense moved the ball around well which created many open looks from behind the arc.

Through the first half of play, the Wolverines converted 48 percent of field goals. They shot 8/8 from the free throw line and made five of 11 3-point attempts. In the second half, the Wolverines improved their shooting even more, and finished the game with an impressive 51.8 field goal percentage.

Leading the charge for the offense was Kobe Bufkin, who led the Wolverines in scoring with 20 points. Bufkin converted on a whopping 81.8 percentage of field goals. In addition, Bufkin contributed three assists and four rebounds to the Wolverines’ efforts.

Jett Howard also shot well against Northwestern, draining 4/6 of his 3-point attempts. Over the last two games, Howard has now made 11 3-pointers. Howard finished with 16 points and five assists.

Mid-game Struggles

While Michigan basketball had a strong start and finish, the Wolverines struggled late in the first half. After taking a comfortable 12-point lead, the Wolverines played sloppy basketball and turned the ball over several times in the span of a few minutes.

Simple mistakes and turnovers allowed the Wildcats to close the gap and ultimately take the lead over the Wolverines heading into the half. The Wildcats turned a 12-point deficit into a 6-point lead. Michigan basketball finished the game with 18 turnovers, 10 more than the Wildcats had.

Through most of the second half, Michigan held their own but couldn’t reach the same level of production that they achieved early in the first half. Ultimately the Wolverines were able to overcome their turnover troubles and pull away with a late lead.

Strong Rebounding

The Wolverines finished the game with 41 total rebounds — 11 offensive and 30 defensive — 12 more total rebounds than the Wildcats’ 29.

It’s no surprise that 7’1” center Hunter Dickinson led the Wolverines in rebounds, amassing 15 total boards on the night. In comparison, the Wildcats’ rebound leader had five total rebounds. Freshman forward Tarris Reed Jr. also cleaned the glass well, snagging eight total rebounds for the Wolverines in just 18 minutes of action.

Michigan’s physicality at the rim gave them more opportunities on offense and played a crucial part in their victory over a strong Northwestern team. Michigan basketball will travel to College Park, MD this Thursday to take on the Maryland Terrapins (11-5 overall, 2-3 Big Ten) at 7:00 PM (EST).