Michigan-UCLA Preview

Poor first halves doomed Michigan and UCLA in the Maui Invitational semifinals. Both teams will be hoping to get off to quicker starts in Wednesday's third-place matchup, with the 15th-ranked Wolverines looking to add to the Bruins' worst start in 24 years.

Updated Nov 23, 2011 1:34 AM ET

Poor first halves doomed Michigan and UCLA in the Maui Invitational semifinals.

Both teams will be hoping to get off to quicker starts in Wednesday's third-place matchup, with the 15th-ranked Wolverines looking to add to the Bruins' worst start in 24 years.

Michigan (4-1) fell 82-75 to No. 6 Duke on Tuesday after falling behind 34-22 at halftime. Leading scorer Tim Hardaway Jr. missed all six shots and failed to score in the first 20 minutes as the Wolverines shot 34.5 percent before the break.

"They completely shut down Tim," coach John Beilein said. "They just wouldn't let him get the ball."

UCLA (1-3) has matched its worst start since the 1987-88 team went 1-4 in Walt Hazzard's final season as coach. The Bruins fell behind by 20 points and trailed by 17 at the break of their 72-56 loss to No. 14 Kansas.

It's been a pattern for UCLA, which has trailed at the half of all three losses and led by two at the break of Monday's 92-60 rout of Division II host Chaminade.

"We can't keep coming back and trying to come back - it's difficult to get over that hill," guard Jerime Anderson said. "I'm very inspired by out team's comeback and our will and our fight, but we just need to put ourselves in a better position to win the game."

Both teams have tried to remain positive after better second halves. Hardaway scored 19 points after the break as Michigan heated up to shoot 61.8 percent.

"We just went out there and executed what he (Beilein) wanted us to do," Hardaway said. "It freed me up and it freed a lot of other guys on the team up."

The Bruins were also much better in the second half as they pulled within five. But the poor first 20 minutes proved decisive.

"That second-half comeback is much easier if we're even or closer in the first half," Anderson said. "Some things don't go our way, we come back and if a team makes another run, that's the hardest thing to do is come back from two runs."

Anderson and the Bruins' three-guard lineup will try to match up with a three-guard attack that's now in the hands of freshman Trey Burke, who had season highs of 17 points and nine assists Tuesday. Michigan had a season-low nine turnovers.

"It takes time for everybody, especially when you have a brand-new quarterback," Beilein said. "It takes time to get things going and understand how these things work in a game."

UCLA may have an advantage in terms of being able to limit the minutes of its players better due to the lopsided win over Chaminade while the Wolverines have played competitive games against top-10 teams in Memphis and Duke.

"It's a quick turnaround," Michigan guard Zack Novak said. "There's a reason everyone is saying this is been one of the best fields that has ever been in this tournament. Right now our focus has gotta be that we got a chance to get third here, and that's really all we can focus on."

UCLA leads the series, 11-4. Michigan won the last matchup 55-52 on Nov. 20, 2008.


The Michigan Insider Top Stories