In their exhibition with Grand Valley State, the Wolverines set the tone early, with back-to-back three pointers from Moe Wagner and Charles Matthews to start the game. Michigan would shoot over 60% from the field in the first half, making seven of twelve three pointers. While their defense held the Lakers to under 30% shooting. The Wolverines went into cruise control in the second half, while Beilein was able to give his bench plenty of minutes. Michigan settled into their season with a 82-50 win over GVSU.
With the departure of three starters from a season ago, tonight gave us a glimpse of who Coach Beilein will be running out at the beginning of games. Wagner and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman were the two holdovers from a year ago, and Duncan Robinson was an easy guess as to another. Matthews, who red-shirted last season after transferring from Kentucky was an obvious choice as well. The one spot that seemed up in the air was the point guard position.
The day before the game, Beilein said that it was very close between his players for who would get the nod. It ended up being Zavier Simpson who led the Michigan attack first. However, grad-transfer Jaaron Simmons was the first off the bench and freshman Eli Brooks played nearly identical minutes as Simmons and Simpson. Beilein admitted that he believes Brooks is someone who might pick up college basketball quite quickly. He also added that the point guard competition is still not settled. They may interchange those three throughout the season.
Many believe Moe Wagner will lead this Wolverine team in scoring this season. However, it was Charles Matthews who scored a game-high 23 for Michigan today. Seventeen of those came in the first half. He made nine of his fourteen attempts, including a three pointer, and consistently drew fouls in the first half. Robinson scored 11 for the Wolverines, while Wagner was the only other Wolverine in double figures with 10 and an additional 10 rebounds as well. Those three players will be counted on to carry the scoring load this season.
-Michigan will always be a three point shooting team under Coach Beilein, and almost everyone joined in from scoring from behind the arc tonight. Eight different Wolverines made threes today, while Robinson sunk three of his long range shots.
-A point of pride for the Wolverines was their 21 assists. After the game, Simmons conveyed Beilein’s pleasure in that number. Matthews said that the Wolverines have three great point guards this year and it’s a blessing to get to be on the receiving end of their passes.
-The Wolverines committed the fewest turnovers per game a season ago, with just over nine. Today they gave the rock up twelve times and looked a little sloppy early on. The main culprit was Wagner, who had four TOs. However, Simpson, Simmons, and Brooks combined for just one, showing the Wolverines are in steady hands.
-Michigan also gave up 15 offensive rebounds, which against a Division II team should not happen. However, as Matthews pointed out afterwards, many were due to poor shots on the Lakers’ end that went long off the rim. He stressed that regardless, they shouldn’t be giving up that many offensive rebounds to anyone.
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