The first game of the season is in the books as the Michigan Wolverines locked up a a 75-56 victory over the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons in Ann Arbor. Michigan center Hunter Dickinson led the way with 22 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 9-11 from the field.
Wolverines freshman guard Jett Howard came out with a strong debut, finishing with 21 points while shooting 8-15 from the field and 50% from 3-point range (5-10). Howard helped push the lead to 20 in the second half after scoring 8 consecutive points.
The Wolverines went on a 20-0 run in the early part of the first half, turning an 8-4 deficit into a 24-8 lead with 11 minutes to play. They would then coast into halftime with a 40-28 advantage. Michigan maintained a double-digit lead for the whole second half, though the Mastodons got to within 12 points a few times. But that’s when Howard’s personal 8-0 run effectively ended the game.
It’s only one game, but this duo of Hunter Dickinson and Jett Howard looks promising. Dickinson remains one of the best low-post scorers in the country, and we know he will be the number one option on offense. But Jett Howard looks like a solid choice for the number two role. He shot well from distance, used his length to get to the rim, and led the team with five assists.
While Howard shined, the rest of the new faces saw mixed results. Duke transfer Joey Baker seems to have a well-defined role. All six of his shots were three pointers, and he made half of them to account for all 9 of his points. Princeton transfer Jaelin Llewellyn scored just 2 points on 1-5 shooting, but otherwise filled up the stat sheet.
Three other freshmen saw action in the game. Guard Dug McDaniel also went just 1-5 from the floor, but he added two steals and looked like a pest on defense. Freshman big Tarris Reed Jr. saw the floor early in the game and showed some defensive promise, but he finished with just one point. And wing Gregg Glenn III grabbed a pair of rebounds and scored on a late layup.
Last year Michigan shot the ball fairly well, and they looked pretty similar tonight. They finished the night at 46.9% from the field, though just 31% from three. They also still need to address the rebounding, as PFW out-rebounded them 44-38.
Michigan will play this Friday at home against Eastern Michigan at 9 PM.