- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- It was the hair, Michigan coach John Beilein told his team after the Wolverines’ 76-66 win over Iowa State on Saturday.
Redshirt sophomore Jordan Morgan cut his hair last week and with a new ‘do came out with his best scoring performance (16 points) of the season.
“Oh yeah, we got ‘Showtime’ back,” sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr. joked. “He had that high-top fade, sky walker, so we had to make sure he cut it off. We just wanted the old Jordan back from last season. It showed today.”
Morgan scored four early points which opened up the outside for freshman point guard Trey Burke, who finished with 13 points, and Hardaway Jr., who finished with a team-high 19.
1. Player of the Game: Jordan Morgan. He wasn’t good on the boards -- he grabbed only two -- and he was even worse at keeping the Cyclones off the boards (redshirt sophomore forward Royce White tallied 13 rebounds), but his presence in the paint allowed the Wolverines to do some things they haven’t done yet this season.
“I just felt like I had the ball in positions to score,” Morgan said. “My teammates found me in good spots and I felt pretty comfortable where I had the ball at."
His season-high 16 points is nearly 10 above his season average, and many times Iowa State players were forced to decide between closing out on a perimeter threat or staying with Morgan, creating opportunities for not only Morgan, but also the Wolverines’ guards.
2. The game changed when ... the Wolverines managed to make a 34-9 scoring run between the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. Beilein said the Wolverines were possibly taking shots too early rather than waiting for the best possible opportunity, but Michigan made the most of its run. It was cushion enough to hold off the Cyclones as they cut the lead to six with under a minute to go. But, the Wolverines converted from the charity stripe to secure the win. Senior guard Zack Novak went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, and Hardaway hit 2-of-2 in the final minute.
3. Tip-ins: Junior guard Eso Akunne is perfect from the floor this season. The former walk-on, who scored five points in the Wolverines’ win, is 5-for-5. … Akunne along with junior forward Blake McLimans shot 2-for-2 from behind the arc against the Cyclones. Combined, they are 5-for-5 on the season as opposed to junior guard Matt Vogrich and senior guard Stu Douglass, touted as Michigan’s best shooters, who are 11-for-48 (23 percent) this year from 3-point range. “They’re either hurrying or pressing,” Beilein said of Douglass and Vogrich. “I’ve been there before. I’ve watched it. … I’m concerned for their own attitudes. I want them to know that they still have a green light when they’re open, because that’s the type of shooters that they are.” … The Cyclones ran a 2-3 zone that seemed to give Michigan struggles in the second half. “We’re not really used to seeing 2-3 zones,” Burke said. “We have plays for it, but we do a pretty good job of pointing it out when it comes.” … Beilein said sophomore forward Jon Horford, who finished with zero points and three rebounds, has a soft spot in his foot that he’s wearing a boot for. “We’re trying to limit his minutes while he gets better,” Beilein said. Horford is averaging three points, three rebounds and 11 minutes a game this season.
16hDan Murphy and Mitch Sherman
5dDan Murphy and Brian Bennett