Following Michigan’s 65-53 loss to Virginia Tech Sunday night in the second round of the Paradise Jam Tournament, Michigan coach Tommy Amaker had this to say about changing the losing mindset of his team: “All of that is a culture, and as we continue to move forward to try and build our program, it is a very difficult thing to crack. So we have a losing culture right now, and we have a chance to bounce back with our game tomorrow night.”

Unfortunately, for the Wolverines, yesterday’s fifth-place game against Kansas State seemed more like a continuation of culture rather than a turning point, as Michigan was defeated 82-71 to fall to 0-3.

It’s the first time the Wolverines have began a season 0-3 since the 1970-71 season, and only the fourth time in their history they have opened with three straight losses. Coupled with their first two losses, Michigan was the only team to go winless in the tournament.

Michigan’s strong second-half performance, in which it outscored the Wildcats 48-41, was overshadowed by a poor-shooting, turnover-ridden first half. After shooting just 34 percent in the first half to Kansas State’s 53 percent, Michigan found itself down by 18 going into the lockerroom.

Michigan was not able to control Kansas State’s offense, as the Wildcats’ went on two long first half scoring runs. With the score knotted at seven and just under eight minutes to play, the Wildcats went on a 14-5 run to take a nine-point lead. Following a basket by Michigan center Chris Hunter, Kansas State went on a 20-9 run to close the half and send a dejected Michigan team back to the drawing board.

Adjustments were made, but it was too late at that point. The Wildcats were able to quell Michigan’s early second-half surge before it could gain any substantial momentum.

“They are an awfully talented team, and we knew that they were going to be able to make some plays and hit some shots,” Kansas State coach Jim Wooldrige said. “But we were able to finish the game off at the free throw line.”

The one bright spot for Michigan was freshman Daniel Horton. The point guard came out firing in the second half, going 5-for-8 from the field and scoring a career high 17 points. Senior LaVell Blanchard added 17, while Bernard Robinson had 14 points.

Michigan sophomore guard Dommanic Ingerson did not travel with the team due to concerns about potential tendonitis in his Achilles tendon. Michigan sorely missed his shooting ability from behind the arc, as the Wolverines went 18-55 (32.7 percent) from 3-point land for the tournament.

Overall, Michigan’s Paradise Jam experience made it evident that the Wolverines have a lot of room for improvement. Although Michigan managed to play well in spurts, such as the second half last night, it failed to put together 40 solid minutes. The Wolverines were was also outrebounded in each of the three games they played.

Michigan will return home to face Western Michigan Saturday afternoon.

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