WASHINGTON, D.C. – Georgetown just took the wind right out of the John Beilein era sails.
Maybe it was the same gust that led to a collection of Michigan airballs.
Either way, the Wolverines’ ship capsized against No. 5 Georgetown, resulting in a 74-52 Hoya blowout at the Verizon Center last night.
Michigan (2-1) looked overmatched from the opening tip against a Georgetown team that trotted out two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore – all of whom saw significant minutes a season ago – to open the contest.
Compare that to the two freshmen, two sophomores and senior who donned the maize and blue to begin the opening frame, and it’s clear why there were six shots that didn’t even touch the rim for the Wolverines over the course of last night’s game.
“I think a lot of it had to do with the excitement,” redshirt freshman K’Len Morris said. “Coming against a top-five team, a former Final Four team, there were a lot of jitters. Our biggest thing was we just didn’t execute our offense.”
Georgetown didn’t have the same troubles. The Hoyas (2-0) pounced on the young Wolverines, jumping out to leads of 12-0, 28-7, and 43-19 during the first half.
The Michigan offense that was a breath of fresh air in two wins against Radford and Brown last weekend turned into a parade of ugliness on the stat sheet.
The Wolverines converted just eight field goals in the first half and shot a porous 29 percent from the field. That’s not to mention the nine turnovers, eight missed 3-pointers and a whole lot of embarrassment.
From freshman Manny Harris’s turnover on the team’s initial possession to freshman Kelvin Grady’s missed floater to end a miserable opening stanza, Michigan never stood a chance against a veteran-laden Hoya squad.
“It wasn’t a surprise, but I didn’t want that to happen,” Beilein said of his team’s first-half struggles. Sophomore DeShawn Sims was the most disappointed player in the Wolverine locker room after the game. Following his 20.5 point-per-game opening weekend, the Detroit native had a disastrous road debut, scoring just one point while committing five turnovers.
Senior captain Ron Coleman wasn’t spared from the carnage, either. He went scoreless on five shot attempts.
“We just had a bad night by our frontcourt,” Beilein said. “But they’ll watch film, they’ll listen to me and they’ll get better.”
Not all was lost for the Wolverines, though. With Georgetown resting its starters for much of the second half, freshmen duo Grady and Harris showed glimpses of what could be in store for the future.
After going 1-for-3 from the field in the first half, Grady displayed a nice medium-range jumper, collecting 13 second-half points on 4-of-5 shooting. Harris rebounded from a 2-for-7 first half to score eight points after halftime.
Boasting a young, inexperienced team this year’s Wolverines, growing pains like last night are to be expected. In the locker room afterwards, players had already begun to think about the growth this game could cause in the long run.
There may be some windy waters ahead, but at least Michigan has a measuring stick for success down the road.
“Now we know what we have to do, what we have to work at to become a team like Georgetown,” Morris said.