Basketball: Michigan Struggles Early, Gets Win Over Penn State

Well, that was more uncomfortable than we all thought it would be.

In a bit of a sloppy, gritty effort, the #4 Wolverines pulled out a 79-71 victory at home against Penn State, a team that has gone winless in the Big Ten to this point

Trey Burke put the Wolverines on his back, scoring a season high 29 points and 5 assists. In the first half, he was pretty much the only guy to show up and play, as the Nittany Lions took it to the Wolverines early. As the game went on, we saw something that hasn’t happened in a while: Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III came to play!

The freshman duo combined to score 39 points, and that mixed with Burke’s effort was just enough for Michigan to get the win at home. As far as the rest of the team is concerned, they were lucky that Penn State was not a better team because that type of effort is unacceptable.

Tim Hardaway Jr’s slump continued yesterday, going only 3 for 11 from the field. I hear all of this talk about him leaving for the NBA but I just do not see it at this point. He certainly has the body of a pro, but his consistency leaves a ton to be desired. When he is hot, he is unguardable, but when he’s cold, he can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Trey Burke’s NBA talk is legitimate because night in and night out, he always fills the stat sheet.

There seemed to be a lack of focus yesterday as well. Missed layups, wide open shots from the perimeter, and poor rebounding all played a part in Penn State making this a close ballgame. Michigan’s saving grace, aside from the trio of Burke-GR3-Stauskas, was that they were able to get to the free throw line 35 times, hitting on 27 of those.

Michigan has a week off until their next game, Sunday at home against Illinois. Maybe a little time to get their minds right will be good for this team. They have not looked like they had fun playing basketball in a while. When they do this, we will be back to seeing the juggernaut we saw earlier in the year.

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