John Beilein may have finally found a way to motivate his team during halftime. Yesterday, he certainly motivated senior forward DeShawn Sims.

“He brought out the ‘F chart,” Sims said. “It’s this chart Coach Beilein’s got. If you don’t do something you get an ‘F,’ and that equals sprints in the next practice. That was a little motivation.”

When Sims realized he wasn’t contributing enough, with two F’s on Beilein’s chart at halftime, he immediately picked up his game. Sims scored a total of 23 points to power Michigan past Detroit 75-64 yesterday, while teammate Manny Harris also contributed a game-high 27 points.

Sims got his game together in the second half when he made 3-of-3 from downtown and scored 15 points. The senior made 10 of 12 shots and added 12 rebounds.

Together, Sims and Harris have accounted for over 53 percent of the Wolverines’ offensive output this season. But it wasn’t until the second half that Sims and Harris started to gel.

“Once he picked it up, the whole team feeds off him,” Harris said of Sims’ performance. “Of course, they also feed off me, but when you got two guys doing it, its just a whole different story.”

In the first half, the Titans easily tossed the ball inside to one of their forwards, who either overpowered the Michigan defender or got a second-chance opportunity off of an offensive rebound. Detroit picked up 26 of its 36 first-half points in the paint, which helped it garner a 36-31 halftime lead.

What was alarming was the ease with which Detroit scored points. The Titans shot more than 55 percent in the first half and nearly 70 percent in the paint.

But in the second half, the Wolverines held Detroit to just 34.5 percent shooting and forced 11 missed shots within eight feet. Michigan’s swarming man-to-man defense finally made a difference, and the Wolverines didn’t let Detroit get second chances, outrebounding the Titans 23-10 in the second half.

“The whole story of the game was our second-half defense,” Beilein said. “It was where it needs to be. It had great conviction as (assistant coach) Jerry Dunn said before the game. We were on a mission and we got it done, because we had been talking about defense but we needed to amp it up.”

It wasn’t until about the 12-minute mark of the second half that the Wolverines finally pulled away. The effort was charged by Harris, who led the Wolverines during a 10-2 run with four points, including a dunk that energized the lackluster crowd and sealed the win for the Wolverines.

During the first half, it seemed like Harris was the only one who showed up to play, leading the team with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Once again, the supporting cast didn’t show up. Sims and sophomore Laval Lucas-Perry saw glimpses of offensive production, but neither one played consistently enough to offer a reliable option outside of Harris.

The second half was probably Michigan’s best effort so far this season, but the team has a tall order in their next game at No. 1 Kansas.

“Winning and playing is always confidence and momentum,” Sims said. “We’re going into Kansas to face a great Kansas team. We’re going in with the mindset of just playing confident and with some swagger, and we had a little swagger today.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.