Michigan dropped its fifth game of the year on Thursday night to UCF, 85-71.
Like most of the year, the Wolverines came out pretty strong in the first half. DeVante’ Jones came out playing hard, he ended the first half with seven points and seven rebounds. The Wolverines found themselves up four points entering halftime,
The second half started out strong for the maize and blue. Michigan had themselves a solid 12 point lead at one time.
But things ended swiftly for Michigan.
UCF went on an 18-2 run in a matter of four minutes and some change, and it was largely due to the fact that the Wolverines couldn’t play as a team. Michigan had some badly timed turnovers, the defense got soft, and the team just couldn’t hit shots when Darin Green Jr. and Brandon Mahan could for the Knights.
Here are our five takeaways from the Michigan loss to UCF.
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Michigan has another second half collapse
Photo: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
It’s starting to become a worrisome trend from this Michigan basketball team.
Besides the Arizona game, the Wolverines look to be the better team in the first half in every game played this year.
But the second half has been a different story — in every loss. The maize and blue held a four-point lead at halftime, and they had the lead up to 12 points at the beginning of the second half.
Due to some turnovers, long droughts, an 18-2 run from UCF, and Darin Green Jr. and Brandon Mahan going off in the second half, it led to another second-half collapse.
Michigan was outscored 54-36 in the last 20 minutes of the game, and Juwan Howard has a lot of work to do for this young team.
DeVante’ Jones shined
Michigan guard DeVante’ Jones (12) warms up before the Minnesota game at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.
DeVante’ Jones has really struggled so far this season in maize and blue. When Juwan Howard landed the Coastal Carolina transfer, most people were expecting a prolific scorer, who averaged 19.3 points-per-game last year.
On Thursday, we finally got to see the scoring ability from Jones. He was about the only Wolverine who could create his own shot, and he did a great job at creating looks for his teammates.
Jones was 6-for-10 from the field for 17 points, he grabbed seven rebounds, and added three assists. Jones was extremely efficient from 3, he shot 4-for-5 from deep.
Caleb Houstan’s struggles continue
Michigan head coach Juwan Howard talks to forward Caleb Houstan (22) during the second half against Buffalo at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021.
The freshman phenom has been in a shooting rut the last few games — especially from deep — and it continued on Thursday.
Houstan came out of high school known as a deep threat from 3, plus an all-around scorer, but something has been off in his game, and it continued to show against UCF.
Houstan was 0-for-7 from the field and 0-for-4 from deep. He ended the game with one point.
The Wolverines are going to need a lot more from their star freshman going forward.
Wolverines were extremely active on the boards
COLUMBUS, OH – FEBRUARY 21: Head Coach Juwan Howard of the Michigan Wolverines, center, gives instructions to Mike Smith #12 of the Michigan Wolverines and Hunter Dickinson #1 of the Michigan Wolverines in the first half against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Value City Arena on February 21, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
While things didn’t go well for Michigan for 40 minutes, it did do a good job at crashing the boards.
The Wolverines grabbed 37 rebounds, but 13 of those were offensive. Overall, Michigan was extremely active on the block and it did allow the maize and blue to get 14 second-chance points in the contest.
Hunter Dickinson led the team with nine rebounds, and Jones had seven of his own.
Michigan couldn’t contain two players
Nov 13, 2021; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; UCF Knights guard Brandon Mahan (13) dribbles the ball up the court against the Miami Hurricanes during the first half at Watsco Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
UCF had 85 total points. Darin Green Jr. and Brandon Mahan had 27 and 26 points, respectively.
The two combined for 53 points, and this game came down to the Wolverines not being able to contain both of them.
Green Jr. hit seven 3s and Mahan hit five 3s, and both did most of their damage in the second half — when UCF went on its big runs.
Michigan did a poor job closing out from the perimeter, and it got extremely sloppy on the defensive end.