The Minute After: Michigan

  • 12/06/2023 12:06 am in

Thoughts on a 78-75 win against the Wolverines:

Sloppy play to end the first half saw Indiana’s six-point lead become a two-point deficit (39-37) at the break. And as Olivier Nkamhoua started cooking Malik Reneau to begin the second half, ripping off eight straight points, the trend continued to be in favor of the Wolverines. Out of halftime, Michigan also emphasized denying Kel’el Ware the ball and made things difficult for him. He connected on just one field goal in the first 19 minutes of the second half.

And yet, Indiana just hung in there. The Hoosiers never gave up. Never gave in. They dug deep and stayed in this seesaw affair, at no time trailing by more than six or winning by more than three. It helped that a sharp-shooting Michigan squad had a poor night from deep (4-of-17, 23.5 percent). Dug McDaniel, after scoring 33 points in an overtime loss to Oregon on Saturday, also struggled in this one (13 points, 3-of-14 shooting).

So when it came down to the wire? This game remained there for the taking. And Indiana and Mike Woodson seized it. With under a minute to go and the game tied, Ware went to work off the left block extended, getting into the paint and making a hook with his right hand to give Indiana the lead at 75-73. McDaniel split a pair at the line to pull the Wolverines within a point. After a Reneau miss and the ball being called out of bounds on Michigan after a review, only seven seconds remained. Woodson subbed in Mackenzie Mgbako and Trey Galloway inbounded it to him. The freshman hit nothing but net on both free throws to give the Hoosiers a three-point lead. After both teams fouled and McDaniel and Galloway each split a pair, Michigan had the ball down three with just over two seconds remaining. The Hoosiers opted to put Ware on the inbounder, Will Tschetter. Ware timed the jump perfectly, anticipating the football throw from Tshcetter, tipping it and securing the steal and thus the win for the Hoosiers.

“Nobody wanted to give tonight,” Woodson said after the game in an interview with the Peacock studio crew. “It was back and forth and (Michigan) played well. But I thought down the stretch we made the plays we needed to make defensively. We missed free throws, they missed some free throws. It came down to getting stops and rebounding the ball. I thought that was the big difference.”

With Ware getting fewer touches in the second half, Reneau’s 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting came up big. He had 15 for the game. Galloway’s nine points on 3-of-8 shooting helped as well, especially after an 0-of-4 first half and missing three 3-pointers in the second half, including an air ball. Indiana’s bench was also key in this one. CJ Gunn had his most important game as a Hoosier. Gunn hit 2-of-3 from deep and 2-of-2 from the line on his way to eight points. The sophomore was also active and pesky on defense, picking up four steals. Mgbako had 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Anthony Walker had some nice buckets off the bounce and a tipback rebound to finish 4-of-4 with eight points. Payton Sparks had six points in nine first-half minutes. Kaleb Banks added six points on 3-of-5 shooting.

“It’s still early,” Woodson said after the game. “It’s a long season but we’re playing harder. And especially when you go out on the road, you really got to compete and rebound and defend to even put yourself in positions like this to win.”

That’s exactly what Indiana did tonight. Though imperfect, it was a total team effort. In a game that hung in the balance, the Hoosiers went out and got it done. They earned this one. It’s a 2-0 start to league play, and you can’t ask for anything more than that.

(Photo credit: IU Athletics)

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