As the game started, the Wolverines struggled to find a comfortable rhythm against the Gophers. Three minutes into the game, Sophomore forward, Isaiah Livers, put the team on the board, making both of his free throws. Junior guard, Jon Teske, took it from there going 6-7 in the first half attempting to close the gap between Minnesota and them. The rest of the Wolverines, however, seemed to have taken a confidence hit as they shot 31.4% in the first half, significantly lower than normal. This allowed Minnesota to take the lead at halftime 31-28.
The Wolverines came out a different team in the beginning of the 2nd half as Freshman forward, Iggy Brazdeikis, showed Crisler Center that he will not be beat again. Scoring a total of 18 points, 13 of those coming in the 2nd half, Brazdeikis made a noticeable difference in the game after halftime. Although Minnesota played well offensively with three players, Jordan Murphy, Amir Coffey and Gabe Kalscheur, scoring double digits overall, Michigan pulled off the W. With the game tied 57-57, Brazdeikis went up for a layup, missing as he was triple teamed. Senior guard, Charles Matthews, was ready for the shot as he rebounded and got the ball off with 0.7 seconds left on the clock. The ball went in and the buzzer went off. After a lengthy shot clock review, the officials called it good and the Wolverines remain undefeated at home.
The combination of their slow start and lackluster play allowed Minnesota to come back to tie the game, reminding the Wolverines they still have a ways to go to climb back up the polls. As the team’s third leading scorer, Sophomore guard, Jordan Poole, needs to bring the points if the team wants to remain a contender in the top 5. With only two Wolverines scoring double digits last night, the lack of top scorers was evident in the closeness of this game. The loss to Wisconsin took a greater hit on the team than most expected and with half of the regular season finished, the next games are crucial for this team to go into the Big Ten Championship with a high ranking.
Headed into the weekend, the Wolverines go up against the Indiana Hoosiers again after beating them at home earlier this month. The game is in Bloomington, Indiana this Friday at 6:30 pm EST.