Michigan coach Juan Howard discusses his team's 79-71 victory in the season opener against Appalachian State, November 5, 2019.
Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press
Basketball in Michigan is underway, as expected with a new coach on its debut.
The second half of the season opener 79-71 on Tuesday's victory over Appalachian Doubt has a long way to go.
With 12:59 left, the Wolverines hold a 30-point lead at the Crisler Center in An Arbor. So far, they have dominated the game on both ends, attacking low and outside offensively and limiting quality shots in defense.
Michigan was about to embark on the Juvan Howard era with a blow to its overworked foe.
Until everything changes.
John Teske defends the Appalachian hunter hunter in the second half of Tuesday in Ann Arber. (Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)
The Appalachian State used a 32-6 run to reduce the deficit to four with 20 seconds remaining, looking like a far superior team during this period. The werewolves couldn't stop the ball, finishing with 17 turnovers – more than in any game last season. In the meantime, the defense struggled to stop the transition or the half court.
This was a recipe for disaster. If more time was left on the clock or the original lead was not so distorted, Howard's debut could have ended with an unthinkable defeat.
And though the Wolverines emerged victorious, it became even clearer in the face of the team's steep learning curve as it adjusts to life under a new coach.
"We just got out of the little things," said center John Teske. "We really shared the ball in the first half, knocked down a lot of open shots, shared the ball great, made that extra pass. The second half, I think we strained a little. We need to relax. We were up by 30 points.
" let's learn to grow from that. We just have to keep the lead of 30 points and 20 points. And just keep holding that foot on the pedal. "
Second half statistics were not good. Michigan scored 33 points on 11-of-28 shooting and had 10 turnovers that led to 17 points for the Appalachian State. Mountain hikes shot 18-of-34 from the field and consistently scored in the rim, turning 13 of 21. Also began to smash offensive glass with multiple players, causing problems in Michigan. In every aspect, the werewolves were surpassed in those last 13 minutes. And the problems got worse as the fighting continued; According to Howard, when the Werewolves suffered a long drought in the second half. , "We stopped playing defense.
" Well, we lost our mental stability, "Howard said.
After winning the show Friday over Saginaw Valley State, Howard talks about improving the movement of the team ball and talking about a scenario
At times it looked like the Werewolves were trying too hard to listen to his advice, there were wrong passes and dropped passes throughout the game, but especially in the second half against the Mountaineers.
Juvan Howard Observes Actions Against Appalachia. (Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)
"You must be at the heart of basketball," Howard said. I learned from my old senior coach with two hands on the ball, make sure the person you are going to is open before you play basketball. Hand out fake. These words were said in our group. Unfortunately, we did not do well to implement it. ”
There were positives from Howard's debut.
Sometimes Teske seemed unbearable down low; he dealt a double-double in the first half and finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Gard Eli Brooks led the team with 24 career goals and made 5 of 11. Brandon Jones, Jr. and Colin Casleton fueled the backup bench with energy and scoring. And, of course, he was happy to give Howard his first win as a coach.
"We are happy," Teske said. "Winning is a win. That's why, Coach Howard, it's his first win. It was a special one for us to participate in. This is our first game in a long season. We'll learn from this, grow from it. We" still have a lot of things to improve and that's practice. Tomorrow, this week, we will improve. "
Although Howard said he didn't expect a second half collapse, there was a sense in the context of Tuesday's game.
Michigan is charting a whole new course. The Werewolves are under the guidance of a first-time coach who has never coached either. at the college level, replacing the program's most profitable coach, along with the three leading scorers last season, the rest of the players were hired to play a different scheme and are now learning to play a new one. : What is the prognosis of the NCAA Tournament in Michigan? Scenario
Going into the season, there is no indication that this team will be able to overcome all these factors and play its best basketball from the beginning, and there will always be a correction period.
And the players aren't the only ones who learn with every game. Their coach is, too.
"In general, I think there are some areas that not only our players need to improve, but me as a coach," he said Howard. "It's part of the process. I cannot separate from the group. May I sleep tonight. I hope I won't play every game, every possession in my head as I try to fall asleep, but I know I will.
"I'm going to have some sleep disturbance because it shows that … they care. You care about this game, you care about what's going on. You care about how you can improve and have that mindset for growth. I'm always critical. I'm always firm with myself. "
Contact Orion Sang at osang @ freepress .com. Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang . Read more about Michigan Wolverines and sign up for our Wolverines Newsletter.