Just over eight minutes into Saturday”s win over Wisconsin, Michigan senior tri-captain Chris Young took himself out of the game and headed for a quick trip to the locker room.
While Michigan had a 25-10 lead, the game still wasn”t out of reach and Young definitely wasn”t hitting the showers yet. But a stomach flu that Young had been suffering from since Tuesday morning forced him to make a trip to the bathroom.
Young missed just two minutes of game action. He ran back to the bench, and coach Tommy Amaker immediately inserted him into the game. Without Young, Amaker says Michigan is a “different team,” and the new coach realizes that Young is the Wolverines” lone legitimate post threat.
Young responded despite being under the weather with 16 points and four rebounds in 28 minutes. He fouled out late in the game.
But a win and solid numbers on the court weren”t enough medicine to help Young”s condition.
I feel “horrible, to be honest with you,” Young said. “My stomach is really messed up.”
Young”s stomach was worse prior to the Michigan State game last Wednesday admittedly the biggest game of his life. Young couldn”t eat anything in the 24 hours leading up to the opening tip, and there was an IV prepared for him in the Michigan lockerroom just in case.
Young had 16 points in that game as well, representing more than 36 percent of Michigan”s season-low 44 points. But Young knows that while battling under the boards and playing more than 30 minutes isn”t too easy to do with a stomach illness, he”s not making any excuses.
“It”s definitely tough,” Young said. “But you have to deal with it.”
Bottomed out: The Wolverines” offense continued to sputter against Wisconsin, mostly in the second half. After a 60-percent first-half shooting performance, Michigan scored 18 points in the first 18 minutes of the second half, shooting 35 percent (7-20) from the floor and giving Wisconsin a chance to climb back into the game. The poor shooting performance was reminiscent of two of the past three Michigan games, in which the Wolverines recorded less than 50 points in their two worst offensive outputs of the season in a 69-47 loss to Ohio State and a 71-44 beating at the hands of Michigan State. In those games, Michigan shot a combined 30 percent.
Bombs away: With Herb Gibson”s inspired play and career-high in minutes, two of Michigan mainstays at the shooting guard position spent most of Saturday night on the bench in their warm-ups. Freshman Dommanic Ingerson played just six minutes, missing two shots from behind the arc and scoring his only point from the free throw line with just over a minute left in the game. Junior Gavin Groninger also saw just four minutes of action, missing his only shot.
NBA-bound? Despite making just four of his last 30 shots, Groninger is one of the three Michigan players listed in a recent ranking of the top 125 college basketball players, which was compiled on the basis of the players” pro potential by CBSSportsline.com analyst George Rodecker.
LaVell Blanchard (No. 46), Bernard Robinson (No. 61) and Groninger (No. 73) are all ranked ahead of Michigan State”s Marcus Taylor, Syracuse”s Preston Shumpert and Indiana”s Jared Jeffries.