Sitting at his post-game press conference, Michigan coach Juvan Howard did not praise Ohio striker E.J. Lidell.
Asked how Liddell distinguishes his game from the many talented greats Howard once saw at the helm of Wolverine, Howard gave a list of ways Liddell could defeat defense:
Getting to the left shoulder with ease. Lots of posts to create space. A variety of ways he can attack the basket in a pick-and-pop game.
On Saturday night, Michigan’s men’s basketball team found itself at the wrong end of Lidell’s entire arsenal. Although Wolverine often forced Lidel to take hard blows, they ultimately had no answer for him. Lidel’s 28 points led the Buckeyes to 68-57 victory.
“The game’s plan for him was to just get him to make tough doubles, and that’s really what he did,” said Devante ’Jones alumni bodyguard. “I feel like he had a few open throws that made the basket for him a little wider and I think we made some costly mistakes, but I paid tribute to Lidell. He is a very good player. “
Lidel was always going to get her points. According to Howard, it is almost impossible to close, and several teams have been able to successfully keep it this year – Lidel has not yet had to score clear figures in the game this season. But limiting his chances would help soften Michigan’s offensive.
Wolverines have not completely failed in this regard; Lidel wasn’t particularly effective off the field, shooting 8-on-17. They never combined it twice, instead preferring single coatings to avoid emissions and open trifles. At the same time, as Jones said, he still had to work hard on his baskets and knock down heavy blows. However, against such a good player as Lidel, even heavy blows sometimes do not bring to an end.
“Lidel is unique in many ways,” Howard said. “And what makes it so effective is that it does a really good job of getting to its place. And he is also patient about it. “
Michigan’s costly mistake was allowing Lidel to go on the free throw line 11 times, where he did all 11. Freshman striker Musa Diabate sometimes had difficulty defending Lidel without a foul, forcing him to defend less physically to avoid a foul.
“It kind of took away some of the aggression from our defender and gave more aggression towards the striker,” Howard said. “And Lidel is smart, and he took advantage of what he was given.”
Lidell shone on the interior throughout the game, but for the most part he failed to showcase his range. He missed his first four attempts from the depths. However, his only blow was a devastating blow to Wolverine. With just over four minutes left, there was no communication in the area, Liddell remained open in the corner, and central sophomore Hunter Dickinson refused to close for fear of leaving the paint open. Lidel made him play, preserved a three-pointer and stifled any impulse from Michigan.
Lidel’s versatility makes stopping him a losing battle. As Wolverines saw firsthand, even strong blows are not always good enough to limit its damage. He is too good a player.
While Michigan was able to relatively restrain the rest of the Parties, it was withdrawn due to Wolverine’s attack. All Ohio needs is Liddell, and he’s set it up again.