After a Thanksgiving game characterised by long runs and back-and-forth play, the Michigan men’s basketball team resumed its winning ways on Thursday night. After a two-game losing streak, the Wolverines defeated Stanford, 83-78, thanks to their return to high-scoring form and early defensive lapses.

Less than eight minutes into the game, Michigan was behind 14 points, but they more than made up for it with a well-balanced scoring effort. Five Wolverines starters scored in double figures: Dug McDaniel (20 points) (with eight assists), Terrance Williams II (17 points) (4 of 5 from three), and Olivier Nkamhoua (16 points) (with 10 second-half points).

Michigan made 8 of its 18 3-point attempts as a team and shot 59.3 percent overall from the field. Eighteen of the offensive points came from fast breaks, which allowed the Wolverines to score easy baskets and eventually outscore the Cardinals, who made twelve 3-pointers during the game.

With the victory, Michigan (4-2 overall) advances to play Texas Tech in the fifth-place Battle 4 Atlantis match, which is tentatively set for 6 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

The first half’s story

In a game that started over an hour later than scheduled on Thanksgiving night, Michigan fell behind the Cardinal by double digits early on. Stanford, distributing the ball and making impressive jump shotsjust 7:20 into the game, made 11 of its first 13 shots, including four 3-pointers, to take a 23-9 lead.

However, the Wolverines stormed back just as many Michigan supporters were considering turning off the game and going to bed. With 8:50 remaining in the half, Michigan went on a 16-3 run, fueled by three 3-pointers from Dug McDaniel, to trim Stanford’s lead to one, 26-25.

After two minutes, Terrance Williams II made a three-pointer to tie the score at 28, and Tarris Reed Jr. gave the Wolverines the advantage with a fast-break dunk after stealing the ball.

The game was back and forth as Stanford, who had mostly used reserves to avoid foul trouble and make up for playing Arkansas in double overtime on Wednesday night, brought its starters back in. The Wolverines were still having trouble on defence, but they weren’t giving up baskets. Michigan made six of seven shots in the last five minutes of the half, including two three-pointers and eight more points from Williams. On the other hand, Stanford made 4 of 7 shots, including 3 threes, and Michigan led both teams 45-44 at the half.

The second half’s narrative

Like the first half, Michigan’s second half started slowly and ended up trailing 52–45 after giving up an 8–0 run in the first 1:33 of the half. Similar to the first half, though, the Wolverines stormed back and didn’t let up until the game was beyond their grasp.

With less than 16 minutes remaining, Michigan tied the score with a 7-0 run on three consecutive made baskets. Then, in a span of 54 seconds, the Wolverines took control of the game with three consecutive steals that resulted in easy fast-break baskets. Michigan had taken a 58-52 lead by the time Tarris Reed Jr. lumbered down the court for a dunk at 14:58.with a run of 13-0.

For a brief period of time during the game, Stanford managed to score just two points, making just one of their ten shot attempts and committing six turnovers. This was partly because of the Wolverines’ defence and partly because of their own offensive difficulties. Michigan took advantage of that stretch to mount a 22-2 run that effectively put them in control of the game.

But the Wolverines weren’t out of the woods just yet in a game full of incredible runs. Between the 12:24 and 4:07 marks, Michigan missed six in a row and only managed five points from the free-throw line as Stanford managed a 15-3 run to make one last push. With just over four minutes remaining and tied at 72, the Wolverines needed buckets, and they got them back-to-back.McDaniel and Olivier Nkamhoua both had midrange jumpers. This, along with the Cardinals’ five consecutive missed shots—two of which were layups—led to a 7-0 run that saw Michigan seal the victory.


Snap, snap, snap.

The game on Thursday night featured an odd number of significant runs, which might have been appropriate for a late-night Thanksgiving game between two teams in the consolation bracket of a tournament held in a ballroom of a Bahamas resort hotel. An 18-5 run gave Stanford a 14-point lead early on, but the Wolverines rallied back with a 25-5 run. Then, with a 22-2 run in the second half, Michigan appeared to put the game away, but the Cardinals responded with a 15-3 run to force overtime.

The back-and-forth battle may have been influenced by the game’s timing and location, but a game with so many runs could have advantages and disadvantages for both teams. The positive update for both groups isthat their players can quickly deliver a scoring blow and are unfazed by a deficit. The bad news is that both teams, especially when it comes to defence and maintaining a lead, appear to have a ways to go before they can be dependable enough for the NCAA Tournament.

Acclimatise to the high-ranking

It’s obvious that Michigan will play in a lot of high-scoring games this season after six games. Dug McDaniel and Olivier Nkamhoua continued to be the Wolverines’ two most effective and versatile scorers, with five players scoring in double figures. Williams’ 3 point explosion is the most recent in a string of standout offensive performances from Michigan’s supporting cast. After going scoreless on Wednesday night, Williams’ 11 points in the first half were crucial to keeping the game close.

However, Michigan was still unable to force opponents to shoot outside the 3-point arc. Less than 24 hours after losing to Arkansas in a double-overtime game, Stanford made 12 of 27 3-pointers during the game.Despite their nine steals and 22 points off of the Cardinals’ 13 turnovers, the Wolverines still need to work on a few things in order to contest more shots, especially from the outside.