Brent Petway was the best player on the floor for Michigan with his defense and terrific block shots (he finished with six points, nine rebounds, five blocks, and three assists), but one player cannot do it all. The Wolfpack beat the Wolverines a lot of times because of hustle plays loose balls. They also did it with just six scholarship players playing, which was pretty impressive. Petway said at the beginning of the season that Amaker never had to wonder if he was going to "bring it" on any given night. That was certainly proven true yet again Monday night. That needs to hold true for a few other players as well if the team is going to take the next step this year.
Ekpe Udoh should challenge Courtney Sims for the starting spot very soon. He is more athletic, is more active, and has a little more to his game when you consider his face up ability. He is young and will make mistakes, but at least you know he is going to bring it on a nightly basis like Petway does. "He was tremendous," Amaker said regarding Udoh. "I was impressed with him. It was his first road game as a college player. He made some big plays for us. He didn't allow things to get to him or get rattled on the road. That showed a lot for a first year player."
In Michigan's first real test against a talented frontcourt, Sims was not nearly as effective as he had been in the previous six games against Davidson, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Maryland-Baltimore County, and the like. He'll have to be better against the best competition to warrant keeping Udoh on the bench.
In defeating the zone, the Wolverines did not do an effective job of hitting the flasher when he came open near the free throw line. Brent Petway was that player many times on Monday night, and last year Michigan often used Ronnie Coleman in that capacity. Monday evening, that player went largely ignored. They'll have to get better at finding the holes in the zone and exploiting them very quickly because after Michigan's struggles with it early this season, teams are going to keep throwing it at them until they prove they can handle it.
Speaking of Abram, he has had ten attempts from the charity stripe this season…and has made nine of them. His shot may not be falling right now, but he is still an outstanding free throw shooter. If he can manage to attack the basket more without being overly aggressive (he had two offensive fouls Monday) maybe he can get beck on track from the line. At the very least he could provide Michigan with more easy points.
Michigan got the lead down to four and could have gotten it lower, but ill advised shots hurt them down the stretch. This was a game the Wolverines should have won and they didn’t.
"When you have that kind of deficit that you are trying to overcome, pretty much everything has to go as planned for you," Amaker said after the game. "Meaning, everything has to be perfect. Every shot. Every turnover. Everything. It's hard to play that way, obliviously. Our kids really battled. I told them how we were disappointed on how we got in that position. But I was equally as impressed and proud of how we battled back. We have been in positions, and situations, like that before where we really haven't battled back like we did. We showed some toughness tonight, but obviously not enough to win the ball game."