Michigan basketball’s trip to the nation’s capital sees present and future benefits

The Michigan basketball program took the first of a handful of trips away from Ann Arbor on Saturday night. Before heading to Las Vegas, Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Orlando, Florida, over the next month and a half, the Wolverines went to the nation’s capital, where Hunter Dickinson and Terrance Williams II got a chance to play close to home.

The rest of the team had an opportunity to continue its growth with the holdovers, transfers and freshmen learning each other’s games.

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Michigan collected a 77-49 victory against an overmatched-though-pesky Prairie View A&M on Saturday night. The game was played in Washington in the inaugural Coaches vs. Racism Roundball Classic, organized by a non-profit group to raise social awareness, promote equity and aid Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Dickinson scored the first seven points of the game. He only attempted five more shots while scoring 11 points, grabbing 10 rebounds for a double-double in 23 minutes of play. .

“I had a lot of friends at the game, being 10 minutes away from here,” Dickinson said. “I don’t think I was nervous. I was kind of excited for the game, going against Prairie View. We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game. They played really tough, really hard. We knew we didn’t have an off night. We were going to have to play our best and I think we played pretty solid out there.”

Dickinson was gracious to the opponent, in part because the teams participated in a joint postgame press conference. He was also gracious to his own team, since its performance wouldn’t have beaten many quality opponents.

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The Wolverines had seven more turnovers than assists and clanged 15 of their 32 free throw attempts. They shot 37.5% from the field after halftime and outscored the Panthers by just four in the paint despite having a major size advantage.

The sixth-ranked Wolverines held the Panthers to 27% shooting, which made it easy to overcome those issues. DeVante’ Jones’ outing was encouraging. The starting point guard posted 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a team-high 30 minutes of playing time. Jones, a Coastal Carolina transfer, showed great recognition while pushing the ball up the court. He found open 3-point shooters early in the shot clock on three occasions in the first half. He fired a pass to freshman Caleb Houstan for a fast-break layup to open the second half and set up Houston’s corner 3-pointer moments later.

Jones also had stretches where he attacked the basket and added a pullup 3-pointer in the first half. He was limited to 18 minutes in the Wolverines’ season-opening win over Buffalo due to foul trouble. Bringing the Michigan basketball show to D.C. may also have other benefits. Coach Juwan Howard continues to have recruiting success in the area. Dug McDaniel, a point guard from Fairfax, Virginia, is one of his 2022 commitments.

“I think he’ll be able to fit in real well for us with our offense, the way we use ball screens,” Dickinson said. “That’s a strength of his, is being able to facilitate with ball screens.” Williams, who had eight points and five rebounds in 17 minutes in his homecoming, said he’ll encourage other recruits in the D.C. area to join the Wolverines.

“I try to sell Michigan as much as possible to the recruits,” he said.

The Wolverines will return to the usual business of building their NCAA tournament resume on Tuesday when they host Big East opponent Seton Hall — and their opponent in the 1989 NCAA tournament final — as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan basketball shines in first road game of the season


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