It wasn't the most impressive effort of the season by Tommy Amaker's Wolverines, but the end result was the same as it had been it the five previous contests this year. The seniors led the way for the Maize and Blue, and it was Brent Petway that stepped to the fore with the most impressive performance of all of the elder-statesmen. "Air Georgia" chimed in with his second double-double of the season, notching 13 points and 10 rebounds. Amaker singled out his senior forward's performance as the key to the game.
"Brent, in our opinion as a coaching staff, was the only bright spot for us this evening," he said. "I was not pleased with our performance in the last part of the second half and certainly the majority of the first half. I was incredibly impressed and pleased with how Brent played. I thought he was one of the reasons we were able to get a cushion in the first half. We were able to balance and push things out, and he was right in the middle of it. I thought he was the reason we were able to get a lead in the first half. Then certainly push ahead with a big lead in the second half”.
Petway's work on the boards was invaluable as evidenced by Michigan's 10 points off of offensive rebounds in the first half. The Wolverines went up by as many as 13 points before heading into the half with a 35-23 lead.
Amaker's club came out more efficiently in the second half. They continued to make it a point to go to Courtney Sims in the paint, and he responded with 18 points on the game. The Wolverines went on a 23-8 run to extend there lead to a 58-31 lead at the 10:01 mark. The Wolverines seemed ready to cruise to a comfortable double-digit victory, but sub par play from the bench allowed the visitors to knife into the lead.
Michigan was outscored 21-6 down the stretch by Youngstown State. Amaker had gone to his bench to pretty much finish the game. He left no more than one or two starters in the game at a time despite the undesirable play he was witnessing. The message to the bench players was clear; they have to play with the same effort and intensity as the starters, and they too have to be prepared to finish games.
“We are still experimenting and learning about ourselves," Amaker said regarding his bench. That is a piece of the puzzle that is coming to where things are getting fined tuned. Still those guys should have finished the game much better then they did. I thought we played, in the later stages, without a sense of urgency. I didn't like the way we were going about it. It looked as if we thought we had the game won and we were just going to try and play it out, as opposed to those kids (i.e. the younger players) trying to earn more playing time by how they're playing when they hit the floor. If you're going to put that uniform on, you're going to get out there to play. It doesn't matter what the score is, you're supposed to play a certain way, and I'm not pleased with the effort we gave in the last part of the second half."
Turnovers have not hurt the Wolverines as of yet, but they'll need to protect the ball better in the coming weeks. As the games become more competitive (North Carolina State, UCLA and Georgetown), the focus and intensity will have to get better.
The Wolverines will next hit the hardwood Saturday when they host Maryland-Baltimore County. Tip-off is scheduled for 2PM EST at Crisler Arena.