Michigan basketball suffers worst loss ever under Juwan Howard, 87-62 vs. Arizona State

Just about everything went right for Michigan basketball in its Legends Classic opener against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, playing its cleanest and most complete game on the young season.

Just about everything went wrong for Michigan in its Legends Classic championship game on Thursday against Arizona State, opening the game ice cold from the field and looking disjointed on both ends of the floor.

The Wolverines started the game 3 of 20 from the floor and 2 of 8 from the free-throwline, trailed by 21 before halftime and never made it close, losing their first game of the season 87-62 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Hunter Dickinson had 14 points and five rebounds and Jett Howard scored 12 to lead No. 21 Michigan (3-1). Desmond Cambridge scored a game-high 20 points, followed by 19 from DJ Horne and 15 from Austin Nunez and 13 from Luther Muhammed to propel the Sun Devils.

The 25-point loss was the biggest margin of defeat for U-M under Juwan Howard.

Michigan coach Juwan Howard, left, talks to Joey Baker during the first half in the championship round of the Legends Classic on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Brooklyn, New York.
Michigan coach Juwan Howard, left, talks to Joey Baker during the first half in the championship round of the Legends Classic on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Brooklyn, New York.

No bench help to speak of

The Wolverines got just 28 total points from their bench over the first two games of the season, so the 34 bench points on Wednesday was a welcomed change of pace. On Thursday, U-M was back to its reserve struggles, getting just five first-half points and 22 on the evening from non-starters, 15 of which came in garbage time late in the game.

In fairness, just about everybody struggled early.

Jett Howard made a 3-pointer from the corner to open the scoring and Jaelin Llewellyn hit a slashing layup early in the game to stay within two, but the next points — another Howard three-ball with 14:34 to play in the half to make it a 15-8 game — were the last Michigan would score for some time.

U-M wouldn't make another basket until the 7:13 mark of the first half went Hunter Dickinson rebounded his own miss for a putback to stop a 24-6 Sun Devil run. The surge happened in a flurry, when ASU connected on seven consecutive field goals to open the game 11 of 15 from the floor.

Arizona State made 8-of-14 three-pointers in the first half while Michigan made just 9-of-30 field goal attempts.

Michigan trailed, 46-28, at the half and would get no closer than 15 points the rest of the way.

Michigan's Terrance Williams II drives past Arizona State's Duke Brennan during the first half in the championship round of the Legends Classic on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Brooklyn, New York.
Michigan's Terrance Williams II drives past Arizona State's Duke Brennan during the first half in the championship round of the Legends Classic on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Brooklyn, New York.

An old friend

Frankie Collins, the former Michigan point guard who entered the transfer portal just two days after Llewellyn announced he was transferring to Ann Arbor, battled foul trouble much of the night, but was effective when he was on the court.

He got the ball in the paint at the start of the second half, pretended as if he was going to dribble it out, before quickly turning on a dime, blowing by the defender and finishing an uncontested layup. He ended with four points and five assists and

Cambridge, who was 0-for-10 on 3-pointers entering the game went 4-for-8 on Thursday. Horne, who made just 3 of 15 shots on Wednesday vs. VCU, went 8 of 14 from the floor.

Nunez, who made 3-of-5 three-pointers and 6-of-10 from the floor, had a highlight play when he scored up-and-under layup with Joey Baker bearing down on him in transition. It capped an 8-0 Sun Devils run in the second half and give them a 68-43 lead.

Michigan cold from start to finish

One of Michigan's woes a season ago was 3-point shooting, making just 33.9% of them. After making a season-high nine 3s on Wednesday, the Wolverines had their worst shooting night of the year, making just 4 of 21 from behind the line and shooting a season-worst 32% from the field.

Michigan's Hunter Dickinson shoots over Arizona State's Warren Washington during the first half in the championship round of the Legends Classic on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Brooklyn, New York.
Michigan's Hunter Dickinson shoots over Arizona State's Warren Washington during the first half in the championship round of the Legends Classic on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Brooklyn, New York.

Dickinson, who's consistently been double-teamed this season, was swarmed with active hands and long arms all night long. He had to work for his team-high 14 points on 6-for-14 shooting.

He and Howard scored 24 of the team's first 34 points but managed just two more the rest of the way.

Outside of Lewellyn, who scored five first half points, Michigan didn't get any points from its other starters until the second half. Kobe Bufkin opened the night 0-for-6 from the floor and didn't score until he made an and-1 layup with 15:35 left in the second half.

Terrance Williams, a captain, got his first points on a tough step-back jumper with 8:26 to play in the game and finished the game with four points.

Contact Tony Garcia at apgarcia@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @realtonygarcia.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan basketball suffers worst loss ever under Juwan Howard