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Michigan Wolverines Basketball: What They're Saying After Penn State Win

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A look around the Internet about what they're saying after Michigan's win over Penn State:

Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press: Michigan basketball is always adjusting, and is still undefeated

“Change is constant. And few have shifted through differing situations better than John Beilein.

And through two months this season, his team has followed along.

No. 2 Michigan entered Thursday night's game anticipating something different, knowing they'd have to react and change and find a way against a scrappy Penn State squad that was going to defend the Wolverines differently than anything they've seen in three weeks.

They knew this because Beilein told them it would happen.

"We knew we'd be able to read coverages (eventually)" said Michigan guard Jordan Poole, who finished with 17 points in the Wolverines' 68-55 win over the Nittany Lions. "That's something that got us going in the second half, reading things, getting easy shots.

"Then once the coaches see that they're able to draw up really good plays (later in the game)."

Michigan had two games during the final two weeks of December and faced zone defenses each time. The Wolverines weren't exactly sure how Penn State would play schematically on Thursday, but they knew it'd be aggressive.

When Penn State eventually came out in an intense man-to-man defense, Michigan's offense was flustered.

So it adjusted.

And won the game. Again.”

James Hawkins, Detroit News: Michigan finds footing in second half, beats Penn State

“Penn State has usually given Michigan a tough time in recent years.

Thursday night wasn’t much different.

But much like they have in past encounters, the No. 2 Wolverines were able to create enough separation in the second half and continue their dominance over the Nittany Lions with a 68-55 win at Crisler Center.

Sophomore guard Jordan Poole scored 17 to lead Michigan (14-0, 3-0 Big Ten), which has won eight straight in the series and 13 of the past 14 meetings between the teams.

Freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis recorded his first career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds and redshirt junior wing Charles Matthews added 14 points. The duo each picked up the slack with 12 second-half points as the Wolverines were able to get the job done without sophomore forward Isaiah Livers, who didn’t play due to back spasms.”

Andrew Kahn, MLive: Michigan, 14-0, pulls away from Penn State in second half

“Michigan returned to Big Ten play Thursday and the result was similar to many of its nonconference games. The Wolverines led most of the way and took control in the second half to secure a win. Michigan's 68-55 victory over Penn State improved the program's record to 14-0.

Michigan pushed its margin to double digits early in the second half. Penn State never got closer than eight in the final 17:51.

Jordan Poole led Michigan with 17 points, playing 39 minutes in a game in which coach John Beilein relied heavily on his starters. Freshman Ignas Brazdeikis scored 16 and added a career-high 11 rebounds. Charles Matthews had 14 points.

Michigan was without the player Beilein has called its "Swiss Army knife," Isaiah Livers. The sophomore forward did not play because of soreness from back spasms he'd suffered the previous few days, according to a team spokesperson.

Beilein tried some new lineups as a result, giving eight minutes to Austin Davis and two to freshman Brandon Johns Jr., who played alongside starting center Jon Teske. Eli Brooks (17 minutes) was the only other reserve who saw action.

Michigan limited Penn State to just one made 3-pointer on 14 attempts, that lone make a bank from Myles Dread. The second straight brick that didn't even draw rim -- with a little more than three minutes left -- had Michigan thinking fast break until Beilein implored point guard Zavier Simpson to slow it down.”

Brendan Quinn, The Athletic: It’s Jordan Poole’s turn

“There’s​ a rite​ of​ passage afforded to​ certain​ Michigan basketball players. The​ great​ ones are​​ put into the role of a snake charmer. They play their tune and manipulate an opposing defense’s moves, orchestrating the cause and effects that serve as the rudiments of John Beilein’s offense.

At its best, the Michigan offense reacts to the defense that’s presented, then forces it into situations that can be exploited. It takes a certain kind of talent to serve as such a puppet master. Tim Hardaway Jr, Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert made it work, propelling themselves to the NBA.

So now here is Jordan Poole, a player who averaged 0.6 assists and 2.8 3-point attempts in 12.5 minutes per game only a year ago; a player who was a chucker more than a player, and who wasn’t asked to do much more. He’s the latest exemplar of a Michigan player development program that seemingly takes the form of a catapult.

Following a lusterless start to the season, Poole is now firmly at the controls, directing many of the offensive whims of a team ranked No. 2 in the country and undefeated at 14-0. On

Thursday night at Crisler Center, Poole steered the ebbs and flows of a 68-55 win, finishing with a game-high 17 points and a couple of assists. He didn’t play exceptionally well, posting three turnovers and going 1-for-4 on 3-pointers, and that, in part, is the point. Poole doesn’t need to deliver thunderclaps. Nowadays, he just needs to play — make music, not noise.

“Early in the year, I think I was so worried about trying to find the open man that I wasn’t being aggressive,” Poole told The Athletic Thursday night. “The coaches had to tell me, like, ‘Jordan, we need to have the ball in your hands because you’re a threat coming off the ball screen.’ I had to realize that defenders know I’m a threat with the ball in my hands because my first look is to score. That’s who I am and I have to play my game.”

It was unclear entering the 2018-19 season who would serve as Michigan’s protagonist in ball-screen situations. Charles Matthews played the part at times a year ago with Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and was the most obvious candidate as No. 1 this time around.

Poole, essentially a microwave coming off the bench as a freshman, was the heir apparent to Abdur-Rahkman, but he also finished his first season with more turnovers (25) than assists (21). Any belief in him as a facilitator or creator was based on evaluation and potential, not evidence."

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