WASHINGTON D.C. – Oden-esque.
That’s how sophomore DeShawn Sims described the effort of playing against 7-foot-2 Georgetown center Roy Hibbert, referring to last year’s top NBA draft pick and former Ohio State center Greg Oden.
Despite facing the 6-foot-10 frames of Michigan big men Ekpe Udoh and Zack Gibson, Hibbert stood about a head above his defenders.
In just 18 minutes of play, he notched 12 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
On the offensive glass, Hibbert seemingly caught his own missed shots without the distraction of defenders. Five of his rebounds came on the offensive end.
“It’s tough to guard somebody that big, but we just worked hard to try and front him,” Gibson said.
By fronting him and implementing double teams, Michigan tried to slow down the preseason All-American. When he was matched up one-on-one with the Michigan defenders, he backed down at will toward the hoop.
Still, Georgetown coach John Thompson III thought that Hibbert struggled a bit.
Fresh start: Down by 24 at halftime against a top-five opponent in a hostile gym, it would’ve been simple for Michigan’s freshman backcourt of Manny Harris and Kelvin Grady to fold over.
But it didn’t.
“The two freshman showed some heart on the road,” Sims said. “They didn’t let us get beat down.”
In the second half, Grady scored the Wolverines’ first nine points and shot 6-for-7 from the field, scoring 13 of his team-high 16 points.
“He’s a great shooter,” redshirt freshman Anthony Wright said. “He got confidence, and he started rolling.”
Grady knocked down three jump shots in that streak, including one 3-pointer. He also displayed his quickness on a steal that he turned into a fast-break layup.
Harris struggled in the first half, shooting 2-for-7 from the field and committing three turnovers.
But he came back to score eight second-half points and not commit another turnover.
“Our backcourt, I think did a great job today,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “Are they really efficient? Not yet. But they’re doing a great job.”
Mr. Smith sits out in Washington: When Michigan coach John Beilein suspends a player, he wants it to mean that the player misses a game he could’ve played in.
So when junior Jerret Smith violated the team’s class attendance policy and suffered an ankle injury that forced him to miss the team’s first two games, the new coach wanted his player to sit out the first game he was healthy enough to play.
After he couldn’t go for the entire practice last Saturday, Smith was ruled injured for Sunday’s game against Brown. After practicing for the entire two hours on Wednesday and going through the team’s shoot around yesterday, Beilein suspended Smith for last night’s game. He will be eligible to play Wednesday against Butler in the Great Alaska Shootout.