ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Forcing Michigan into 14 turnovers and getting big outputs again from a couple of freshman, Jacksonville University men's basketball battled the Wolverines to the end in a 76-51 loss at the Crisler Center that felt closer than the final score indicated.
"I thought for 30 minutes we competed at a level that we have to figure out how to do for 40 minutes," said Head Coach Tony Jasick.
JU set the defensive tone early by holding Michigan scoreless for the first 2:55 of the game, and stayed within single digits for much of the first half thanks to turning 10 Michigan turnovers into 11 points. JU was hurt by a couple of multi-minute scoring droughts, but stayed within striking distance at the half, trailing by 14.
The Dolphins shot just 26 percent in the first half, but held the Wolverines to six less shot attempts.
The second half started with the Jacksonville offense coming around. Matching Michigan shot for shot and cutting the deficit to 13 on a JD Notae free throw with 14:11 left, UM used the next 3:12 to build the lead out to 20+ for the first time in the game.
Tanner Rubio then hit a layup and Jalyn Hinton converted a three-point play to get as close as 18 again at the 8:44 mark, but Michigan was able to pull away after that on transition buckets and added some garbage time points at the end to stretch the final margin to 25.
"Unfortunately, the stretch from about the 12 minute mark to the eight minute mark in the second half just did us in," said Jasick.
"We didn't want to be soft at the rim and we didn't want to allow them get in a flow, get anything in transition, and both of those took place."
Notae finished with a game high 22 points on 50 percent shooting and was five of six from behind the arc. The reigning ASUN Newcomer of the Week also had a team high eight boards, and tacked on four steals and a block for good measure, another staff stuffing night for the dynamic freshman, who is averaging 21 points per game over his last four outings.
Jalyn Hinton was the second leading scorer and rebounder, with 11 and six, respectively. Coach Jasick feels that his freshman are growing, but still have work to do.
"I think those two guys are making progress, we've got to find a way to get them a little bit more efficient, but those are two guys that we feel are going to be pretty good players for us over the next four years.
Jacksonville returns home to open the new year on Jan. 2 vs. Trinity Baptist with tip-off set for 7 p.m. at Swisher Gym.