Men’s Basketball: Michigan defeats UCLA in an Overtime thriller in Ann Arbor
Most people thought UCLA would run away with this game and it looked like it was going to be another double-digit loss for the Wolverines. But, the Wolverines were not going to let that happen again. Michigan came back late in the second half and was able to send it to overtime and was able to seal the deal thanks to good defense by Zavier Simpson and two big three-pointers. Michigan was able to get it done against UCLA in overtime 78-69.
UCLA was coming off not playing a game Wednesday against Montana due to the wildfires in Los Angeles. UCLA came out strong and had the lead for most of the game. But, it will be the 20 turnovers that UCLA had that may have cost them this game. “We turned the ball over 20 times and I thought that was the difference in the game. You can’t do that on the road,” said UCLA Head Coach Steve Alford. “We have 5 new guys playing their first true road game and that may happen as long as we can learn from it,” Alford remarked.
Aaron Holiday had led the game for UCLA with 27 points and was 7 for 8 from the free throw line. Thomas Welsh had a double-double on the game with 22 points, 10 rebounds was 8 for 12 from field goal range. He was a perfect 4 for 4 from the free throw line.
Michigan came into this game after a tough loss in Columbus against the Buckeyes and got a big win over the UCLA Bruins from the Pac-12 conference. Even though Michigan shot 8 for 22 from the free throw line, Head Coach John Beilein said a win is still a win. “When you go 8 for 22 from the foul line and win the game, I have never seen that before.” said Beilein. “We take the ‘W’ every day because we earned it in the long run,” Beilein stated.
A big part of today’s win was the play of point guard Xavier Simpson. “He was very solid and did a great job,” Beilein said. “Aaron Holiday was so quick at first but as the game went on, Zavier felt more comfortable and had some big steals that were huge. He had a running hook shot to give us a chance,” Beilein said. Simpson had a total of 15 points and was 6 for 9 from field goal range.
Charles Matthews also had a good performance for the Wolverines. He had 20 points and 8 rebounds but was only 2 for 10 from the free throw line. It was something that Beilein addressed after the game. “In practice it has been good,” Beilein said. “He just has to get used to those types of situations. I will take a look at the video and I will see what I see,” Beilein remarked.
Michigan struggled shooting from the free throw line all game but in the end it was Eli Brooks nailing two big free throws to send the game into overtime. “I don’t think he has made two in a row all year,” Beilein commented. “I let him sing the fight song today because for a freshman to be at that stage of the game to go in and knock them down, it shows a lot about Eli,” Beilein continued. Moe Wagner also had a good day with 23 points and was 10 for 16 from field goal range.
On an unrelated note, potential Michigan transfer Shea Patterson and two other Ole Miss Stars attended today’s game against UCLA. The Ole Miss quarterback is considering Michigan as one of the schools he may transfer to due to sanctions placed on Ole Miss because of rules infractions.
The Michigan basketball team’s next game will be on the road as they take on Big 12 powerhouse Texas at 9 pm on Tuesday, December 12th.