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December 06, 2013 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-12-06

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8 - Friday, December 6, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

In need of offensive tuning, Michigan to host Houston Baptist

By DANIEL WASSERMAN
Daily Sports Editor
On Tuesday night, Duke pro-
vided each of the Michigan men's
basketball team's future oppo-
nents a road
map to stymie- Houston
ing the Wolver-B
ines.
The Blue Michigan
Devils denied Matchup:
Michigan's top Houston
shooter and Baptist 3-5;
scorer, sopho- Michigan 5-3
more guard When: Satur-
Nik Stauskas, day 12 p.m.
from even get- Where Crisler
ting the ball, let center'
alone shooting
it. Aside from TV/Radio:
an injury-short- BTN
ened four-min-
ute outing last
year, his two field-goal attempts
-both misses -matched a career
low. Though his sprained ankle
likely played a factor in Duke's
ability to stifle him, the Wolver-
ines looked lost on offense with-
out his production and ability to
create space, much like in the loss
to Charlotte in the Puerto Rico
Tip-Off championship game.
But Saturday's opponent,
Houston Baptist, should be noth-
ing more than a minor speed
bump - effective Stauskas or not.
No. 22 Michigan, which hasn't

that other option out there."
After struggling with consis-
tency in San Juan, LeVert reas-
serted himself as a viable option
in perhaps the nation's toughest
environment.
But the Wolverines' ceiling
hinges on sophomore forward
Mitch McGary perhaps more
than anyone else. McGary had
one of his best statistical games
this season in Durham, scor-
ing 15 points and collecting 14
rebounds, but much of his pro-
duction came after the game's
outcome had already been
decided. While his work in the
post was at times unstoppable
against Duke - he shot 6-for-10,
including two missed jumpers
that frustrated Beilein - Michi-
gan continued to struggle to find
ways to involve him in its offen-
sive game plan.
Last year, McGary's produc-
tion exploded in the NCAA Tour-
nament thanks to the respect
garnered by Trey Burke's pick-
and-roll offense. While McGary
has had success in the pick-and-
roll when it has been used in
spots this year, no point guard
on this year's roster can run the
play to the extent that last year's
consensus National Player of
the Year could. Saturday's game
is one of the Wolverines' final
chances to experiment with new
ways to get him the ball.

PATRICK BARRON/Daily
Sophomore forward Mitch McGary scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds against Duke, but much of that production came with the game out of reach.

lost a non-conference home game
since Jan. 9, 2011, should have no
problem pushing the tempo and
scoring in bunches against its
Southland Conference opponent.
In two matchups against BCS-
conference opponents this year,
the 3-5 Huskies lost by a com-
bined 42 points and needed a sec-
ond-half push to beat Crowley's
Ridge, a program in the National
Christian College Athletic Asso-
ciation.
Michigan coach John Beilein

said after the Duke game that he
wasn't sure whether Stauskas's
ineffectiveness was more a prod-
uct of the guard's ankle injury or
just a well-crafted, well-execut-
ed game plan by the Blue Devils.
And though the Wolverines have
a full week off following Satur-
day's game, Beilein may opt to
limit Stauskas's minutes in prep-
aration for likely-No. 1 Arizona,
which will play in Ann Arbor a
week from Saturday.
But in one of its final tune-ups

before Big Ten play picks up in
January, Michigan (5-3) needs
to find alternative ways to gener-
ate offense when the team, and
especially Stauskas, struggles
to knock down 3-pointers. The
Wolverines shot just 3-of-13 from
deep on Tuesday.
"We just had trouble scoring
without (Stauskas)," Beilein said.
"The first half was really bad
offensively."
Thus far, the team's second-
ary option has been sophomore

guard Caris LeVert, who explod-
ed in the second half en route to
a game-high 24 points. Despite
shooting just 3-for-16 from
3-point range in his past four
games, LeVert - the team's sec-
ond-leadingscorer, averaging15.1
points per game - still displayed
an impressive ability to create his
own offense, repeatedly getting
into the lane and to the charity
stripe, where he was 7-for-7.
"He's growing every day,"
Beilein said. "It's good to have

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