Men's Basketball

Zavier Simpson has been shooting 76 percent from the charity stripe in Big Ten action.

Simpson no longer fits his reputation. In Big Ten play, Simpson has hit 22-of-28 from the charity stripe — a 76 percent clip. And against Maryland, he continued the trend, sinking both free throws to extend the Michigan men’s basketball team’s lead.

Redshirt junior wing Charles Matthews vocalized his frustrations after Michigan's loss at Penn State last week.

“He’s got a sense of urgency to win this year,” Beilein said. “And make a decision after the season, but win this year so that he doesn’t look back and say, ‘I didn’t do enough in my senior year.’ ”

Junior center Jon Teske scored seven points in the final five minutes against Maryland on Saturday.

Zavier Simpson bided his time, wrapping behind the basket before splitting two defenders with a no-look bounce pass. Just as the pass reached its apex, Jon Teske came streaking into the lane, collected the ball and emphatically slammed it home, giving Michigan a double-digit lead it would never relinquish.

That scene came late in the second half of the Wolverines’ 65-52 win over Maryland on Saturday, but it’s emblematic of a larger trend that has come to define their offense over the past three months. Simpson — Michigan’s offensive conductor — leads all Big Ten point guards in assist-to-turnover rate, while Teske has flourished as its interior linchpin, averaging 10.7 points and 6.9 rebounds in conference play.

Presented by The Michigan Daily's sports section, a rotating cast of writers discusses Michigan sports.

The Wolverines went 1-1 this week, so what do we make of them now? Plus, we break down the Big Ten standings and what expectations are for the rest of the season. That and Mike makes the case for Purdue basketball to win the Big Ten Tournament.

Sophomore forward Isaiah Livers was impressed with the Michigan men's basketball team's transition offense against Maryland on Saturday.

The Wolverines' struggling transition attack showed signs of a breakthrough, with 14 fast-break points against Maryland.

Freshman David DeJulius was the first point guard off the bench on Saturday.

David DeJulius took the court at Crisler with his first real opportunity all season.

Sophomore forward Isaiah Livers found defensive success playing alongside Jon Teske in Michigan's win over Maryland on Sunday.

In many games, that would have been where it unraveled — especially when Johns, Teske’s replacement, instantly picked up two fouls on the same possession. But Beilein took the risk and put Teske back in along with Livers.

After that, Fernando had six points, Smith had two and Michigan had a 65-52 win.

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On Saturday afternoon though, it took nearly three minutes for the Terrapins to score. Before they could do so for a second time, Michigan’s lead had ballooned to 14-2. Maryland (19-7 overall, 10-5 Big Ten) eventually reversed course, but — much like for the Wolverines on Tuesday — it was too late, as Michigan (23-3, 12-3) held on to win, 65-62.

Michigan coach John Beilein credited Penn State as better than its 9-15 record after the Nittany Lions beat Michigan on Tuesday.

The Wolverines aren’t flying above the conference’s pressure cooker anymore — they’ve been dragged back in, and their mentality must be adjusted accordingly.

With a 24-point showing on Tuesday, Charles Matthews was a bright spot for Michigan in an otherwise disappointing outing against Penn State.

Because as well as he has played, his team has reached its collective worst in a season that has included far more highs than lows. And for Matthews — likely in his last season at Michigan — to reach the heights he imagined when he transferred here, his teammates need to rediscover those highs.

“Time is running short,” Matthews said. “It ain't no more, ‘We'll fix it later.’ Time is now.”