You could tell from the very beginning that both teams knew this was a big game. Both teams were a little apprehensive at first, playing uptight, making turnovers and missing shots early on.
Michigan was held to four points during the first seven minutes of the game while Minnesota jumped out to a nine-point lead, 21-12. Michigan fought back and closed the gap, with a halftime score of 35-32 with Minnesota leading.
Minnesota jumped out early in the second half with a full-court press that sped the game up and got Michigan into trouble. Minnesota was up by twelve points with fourteen minutes left, then later, ten points up with ten minutes to go.
Laval Lucas-Perry (LLP) hit several big-time three-point plays which got Michigan back into the game and began a big final push from the Wolverines. Michigan went on a 21-8 run to beat Minnesota on their home court and get the season sweep.
Michigan had a huge game from DeShawn Sims and LLP tonight. Also, Michigan’s free throw shooting was outstanding.
Does the win seal the deal for Michigan to get into the “Big Dance”? They're not 100 percent in, but they're a whole lot closer.
Would a win help in the Big Ten Tournament? You betcha! I believe that would be enough to seal the deal. Can Michigan get in without a win? Yes, I think they can after beating Minnesota.
Nothing is set in stone, but today has to get the Michigan fan-base excited. Get out those old worn-out dancing shoes and polish 'em up. WE'RE GOING TO THE DANCE!
Some quotes from Coach Beilein from MGoBlue:
Opening statement: "...It isn't often that you can get out-rebounded 30-13 and win a game.
What was key was our defense, although we did allow them to shoot a great percentage, creating the turnovers helped cause the disparity in rebounds, that was 18 times they didn't get to shoot it.
That is a unique stat, but our kids just fought hard. Our last two road games were just like this, but they didn't go our way; this one did...."
On coming back from down 12 in the second half: "...When you go through a season, hopefully you have situations where you're down and your team fights back. We were down 20 at one time at Indiana; we were down at home 20 once at halftime (Savannah State).
"We were just trying to keep our composure at that point in a very great setting; that was our big thing. Our coaching staff, as much as we could, was trying to show a "yes face" in the huddle. 'Just hang in there guys, hang in there, we have to make a couple of baskets and get stops.'
"We weren't getting any stops. Four layups for Minnesota to start the second half...."
On the play of Laval Lucas-Perry: "...As a freshman goes through a year you see this all the time. Freshman shooting percentages are remarkably different from what they are in the in the sophomore or junior year.
"He is the same guy; he just hasn't been able to make them enough in games. He is learning the defense at our level and just hasn’t had as big of a role. Today, when he got it going, those three (triples) in a row, that was a huge difference...."
On the game mantra of 'burning the boats': "...When you get into March, in some way shape or form you are about to play your last game, at some point. We don't want to do that yet.
"The burning the ships idea was John’s (Mahoney) idea. I have given that speech before, John actually researched it, when Cortes burned the ships, which is why we have it in Spanish on the back (of t-shirts). We told the story to the team last night, about what happened..."
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