BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Michigan basketball ' s dream start at Indiana was John Beilein's nightmare
The fifth-ranked Wolverines walked into Assembly Hall and calmly took a 17-0 lead in the first six minutes.
But it's not just about the initial punch. It's a team respond when it gets punched back.
"When you get off to that great start, what happens in the game, if you lose that game, it's nothing," Beilein said. "To be up to much that early. Nothing."
Friday night, Michigan came out swinging – and finished the game the same way in a 69-46 win.
Michigan's Charles Matthews and Indiana's Aljami Durham chase a loose ball in the second half Friday, January. 25, 2019, Bloomington, Ind. (Photo: Darron Cummings, AP)
The formula may seem similar to this point: constricting defense and an offense that gets hot at the right times.
"We were just so mentally prepared for this game," said Ignas Brazdeikis, who scored a game-high 20 points. "We watched a lot of film on them. We knew exactly what we had to do, and offensively none of us were shying away from shots. And our leaders, X and Charles, were the way for us.
"We were really confident in ourselves. This game was ready to go." [LedbyCharlesMatthewsMichiganwasallabouttheHoosiersfromthestartwhocameupontheirfirst10tripsdownthefloor
Matthews put on a defensive clinic in guarding Indiana's Romeo Langford, who was also hampered by three fouls in the first half. and knew with nine points on 3-of-12 shooting.
Michigan knew Indiana had two marquee players in Langford and Juwan Morgan. It shut one down, slowed the other, and that was more than enough.
Still, Assembly Hall can be a tough place to play when the home team is making shots, and the Hoosiers made things closer to Michigan's first run. , Bloomington, Ind. ” width=”180″ data-mycapture-src=”https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2019/01/26/PDTF/3158283e-2a34-4bf5-9910-6d7cbd529e33-AP_Michigan_Indiana_Basketba_2.jpg” data-mycapture-sm-src=”https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2019/01/26/PDTF/3158283e-2a34-4bf5-9910-6d7cbd529e33-AP_Michigan_Indiana_Basketba_2.jpg?width=266&height=400″/>
Michigan's Zavier Simpson drives against Indiana's Rob Phinisee during the first half Friday, January. 25, 2019, Bloomington, Ind. (Photo: Darron Cummings, AP)
When Indiana scored on the first four sessions of the second half and cut the lead to nine with 16:47 left, the Wolverines responded by hitting a series of shots from outside. Brazdeikis hit a pair of 3s, celebrating as he went back down the court, and then Matthews scored seven points on three consecutive possessions as Michigan took back control of the game.
" good, especially when they make that little run to get to (nine), "Beilein said. "And from then on, they were really good after that as well. Our defense was so solid the entire night."
At times, the Hoosiers seemed uninterested in the game at hand – perhaps a sign of the lethargy that comes with losing six consecutive games. Still, winning by 23 points at Assembly Hall is no small deal.
"It means a lot," Zavier Simpson said. "It shows that we're mentally strong, mentally tough to be able to play at – play Minnesota, Wisconsin, and be able to bounce back on someone's home court, who has a really great team. Get the win. ”
Friday's victory comes to another inflection point in Michigan's season.
Six days ago, the Wolverines took their first loss of the season at Wisconsin.
A last-second home win against Minnesota, after blowing a 10-point lead in the final five minutes, not what he expected. [Fridaynightwasastepintherightdirection
"I think we realized that this growth, we've got to embrace this process," Beilein said. "We've got to embrace that adversity at Wisconsin and get better from it, and that's where I think we start today.
" Even with the clock stop at the beginning, that place was charged up like I remember it was in '13 when we came here as the no. 1 team in the country. And you couldn't hear yourself think. And that's what it was at the beginning, and our kids went out and executed. Says a lot about who they are, and how they adjust. And grow, most importantly. "
Contact Orion Song: email@example.com Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang.
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