Michigan Basketball Celebrate New Years Eve in style.
15th seed Wolverine made her way to an impressive level 84-73 victory at Maryland Stadium, Stay unbeaten and stay on top of the Big Ten.
UM looked ready from the start, scoring 46 first-half points before pulling away in the second half 9-0, increasing the lead to 10 with 8:39 remaining. The Wolverines eventually extended to 19 and comfortably closed their third conference match.
Rookie position Hunter Dickinson continued his strong start, leading all scorers with 26 points in 10-to-11 shots with 11 rebounds. Franz Wagner added 19 points and Mike Smith added 16.
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Dickinson’s impressive comeback
Dickinson, who attended Dematha a Catholic in Maryland and is from the metropolitan area, told reporters this week that he felt somewhat disrespectful when Maryland did not recruit him heavily. Dickinson was clearly holding that grudge at Thursday’s competition: In the first half, he stared at Terrapins seat running down the field after scoring. In the end, Dickinson was called in for a technical error – he calmed down, but did not calm down.
The junior position looked like the best player on the ground at times, especially when attacking. He hit 90.9% of the field, made six of seven free throws and grabbed four offensive rebounds. Dickinson’s size proved difficult to handle because he was able time and time again to prove his low and score.
Smith and Wagner provide a backup
It wasn’t all Dickinson. Michigan also had an outstanding performance from Wagner and Smith, who both scored 16 points per season. He also had six rebounds and six assists for the team.
Wagner scored fewer than seven attempts and 10 points during his first six matches, but the sophomore student was tougher against the Cornhuskers and Terrapin last week. He scored 20 points on a 9-to-16 shot in Nebraska on Christmas Day and was similarly fierce in Maryland, scoring 10 first-half points. Wagner raised his skills in the gaming industry. He earned four assists on Thursday, including a decisive detour pass for Dickinson that led to a -1. He also made three out of his three points, which is an encouraging mark for Michigan given that he averaged 26.3% on the 3-point competition entry.
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Meanwhile, Smith was one of the best Wolverines of past doubles matches. He’s not the primary choice – as he was with Colombia last season – but his role suits him well: He can pick his positions as a scorer – as he did on Thursday when he bumped into a couple of tough jumpers, including a long step back 2 – with their distribution as well. He finished Thursday with 16 points and six assists. And despite being the youngest player on Earth at College Park – listed generously at 5ft 11 – Smith had six rebounds against the Terrapins.
Little Ball is running in Maryland
Offensively, the first half of Michigan was some of the best of the season. Wolverines earned an open appearance whenever they wanted and averaged 1.3 points per possession. Michigan reached the free throw streak with 15 out of 16 attempts, with nearly every player receiving a statsheet. It was a poor performance that, in most games, would have resulted in a comfortable lead.
But Maryland didn’t hold back. Trappins, who plagued Wisconsin on the road on Monday, slumped by up to 10 in the first half, but fell to the lead with nine three-pointers (on 11 attempts) in the first half. This high percentage was less due to sharp shots, and more as a result of open shots created by the Maryland junior squad. This approach spread the ground and proved to be a good response to Michigan’s insult (and the Hunter Dickinson Center size). That was enough to preserve Michigan’s lead in the second half, despite Wolverines’ effective scoring.
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