Ricky Doyle

Aubrey Dawkins, zone defense help Michigan overcome 13-point deficit to beat Illinois in overtime

Leave a comment

The day was suppose to be dominated by Michigan’s new head football coach, Jim Harbaugh. The arrival of Harbaugh spiked ticket prices for Tuesday’s matinee Big Ten opener against Illinois with Harbaugh addressing the Crisler Center crowd — many of whom dressed in Harbaugh’s trademark Khaki pants — at halftime.

However, the star of Michigan’s 73-65 overtime win over the Illini was freshman wing Aubrey Dawkins, son of Stanford head coach, Johnny Dawkins.

Aubrey Dawkins scored a game-high 20 points off 6-for-7 shooting from three. To put that in perspective, the 6-foot-6 freshman entered Tuesday afternoon appearing in 10 games, scoring a grand total of 15 points. He had missed his previous eight attempts from three, the last make coming against Nicholls State on Nov. 29.

The Wolverines trailed by 13 in the second half, struggling to get offensive support from Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin, who combined for 1-of-16 shooting to begin the game. Although, midway through the second half, Irving caught fire with back-to-back 3-pointers, aided by better ball movement from Michigan. Dawkins followed with two triples of his own. An 18-5 run gave Michigan a 56-55 lead with Caris LeVert accounting for nine of those points (three points, three assists).

LeVert ended with 19 points with five assists. Irvin added 13 as did Ricky Doyle, who scored eight of his baker’s dozen in the second half.

Late in the second half, Michigan switched to a 1-3-1 zone defense, which caused problems for the Illini. Add in a 3-for-11 performance from Rayvonte Rice. The leading scorer for Illinois ended with a season-low eight points, as Malcolm Hill paced the Illini with 19.

During Michigan’s run, Rice took zero shots, not looking as assertive as you’d expect someone averaging 17.7 points per to be. With the shot clock off and the score tied, Illinois drew up a play for Rice to replicate the buzzer-beater he hit against Missouri earlier this month. He came off a high-screen on the 2-3 zone defense, but LeVert raced over to close out on Rice, forcing a difficult look.

In overtime, a drive by LeVert created an open, endline three for Irvin, followed moments later by a wide-open look for Dawkins on a defensive lapse for Illinois, giving Michigan a two-possession lead.

This was a good win for Michigan after taking its lumps in the non-conference. The win will help overshadow Walton’s 0-for-8 performance, forcing John Beilein to rely on Spike Albrecht for 25 minutes. While the zone defense was effective, Michigan’s man-to-man was not. While the win helps the Wolverines put that four-game losing streak in the past, it could be the start of a difficult stretch for Illinois.

The Fighting Illini will be road warriors to start conference play, with four of their first five conference games — Ohio State, Nebraska, Northwester — on the road. The only home game in that stretch: Jan. 7 against No. 12 Maryland. Illinois has a second home game on Jan. 18, hosting Indiana.

Spike Albrecht, Ricky Doyle (who?) lead No. 17 Michigan to win over ‘Cuse

1 Comment

It was vintage Spike Albrecht on Tuesday night, as everyone’s favorite not-actually-a-walk-on point guard finished 11 points and nine assists without a turnover, hitting a three with 31 seconds left to lead No. 17 Michigan to a 68-65 win over Syracuse.

Albrecht had nine points and six assists in the second half alone. For a team with a back court that includes Caris LeVert, Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin, it’s surprising to hear that a kid who got his first scholarship offer — from UMass-Lowell — midway through his post-grad year was the star.

He wasn’t alone, either.

Ricky Doyle, another unknown on Michigan’s roster, shined as well. He finished with 12 points and six boards, five of which came on the offensive end of the floor. They also did this:

Back before the season began, I said that the play of redshirt freshman big man Mark Donnal would be the key to the Michigan season.

I was right and wrong. A different big man, Doyle, has a chance to be the difference maker for this group this year. What the Wolverines do not have on their roster this season is a Jordan Morgan, a strong, physical low-post presence that will defend hard, rebound hard, screen hard and do all of the dirty work while, you guessed it, playing hard.

He doesn’t need to be Frank Kaminsky or Jahlil Okafor, but he does need to be a guy that keeps possessions alive by getting to the offensive glass. He needs to be a presence in Michigan’s ball-screen action, a guy diving to the rim and dunking if defenses collapse on one of Michigan’s guards. He needs to block some shots and take some charges and do all that dirty work that Morgan did for so long.

And in recent weeks, he has been. In the last four games, Doyle is averaging 10.3 points and 4.3 boards. If he does that all season long, Michigan might end up being the second best team in the Big Ten.

As far as Syracuse is concerned, it was nice to see Trevor Cooney get it going offensively, and Chris McCullough did some really impressive things once he returned to the court after being in foul trouble, but nothing about this performance changes the way that I feel about the Orange.

Kaleb Joseph is not ready for the roll he is being asked to play, which is something I wrote about extensively from New York City last week. He’s going to be a good point guard down the road, but as of right now, he’s overwhelmed. Tonight certainly won’t help his confidence. In the final 15 seconds, he committed two turnovers with Syracuse down by just one point. He airballed a decent looked at a three at the buzzer.

(h/t Vice Sports for the video)

Ricky Doyle secures 70-63 win for No. 19 Michigan over Oregon in Legends Classic

Leave a comment

BROOKLYN — With No. 21 Michigan clinging to a three-point lead with 37 seconds to go against Oregon, freshman forward Ricky Doyle ripped down a missed jump shot between two yellow jerseys, and took the second-chance opportunity around the right side and laid in the clinching basket in the Wolverines’ 70-63 win over the Ducks in the Legends Classic on Monday night in Brooklyn.

With the outcome decided, the lower bowl went from the Barclays Center to Crisler Arena east with chants of “RI-CKY DOY-LE!”

“It was a new experience for me,” Doyle said in the post-game press conference. “I never experienced anything like that. It felt good.”

The ovation was deserved. The 6-foot-9 freshman played an energized 24 minutes — more than the previous three games combined — scoring 10 points and grabbing three rebounds, including the crucial offensive board in the closing moments.

“It was huge for us,” Michigan junior guard Caris LeVert said of the play. “Coach calls those the outliers and Ricky was definitely one of those today, getting big offensive rebounds and a couple of and-1’s as well. He was big for us tonight.”

Doyle was certainly the outlier on the glass for the Wolverines on Monday night. The Ducks grabbed 18 offensive rebounds. Doyle snagged three of Michigan’s seven offensive boards. Oregon outscored Michigan 17-5 in second-chance points, and all five of those points came from Doyle’s extra effort.

Defensively he has ways to go, but he stayed away from silly fouls while sacrificing his body attempting to draw charges. All of which earned him the boost in playtime.

“Either late in the first, early in the second, he finished a lob pass in a crowd, and I said, ‘Alright, now we got something,'” Michigan head coach John Beilein said. “They have a great shot-blocking team and he took it right through their chin.”

Beilein had seen that sort of play out of Doyle before, but it had been months ago during Michigan’s summer trip in Europe. It was a welcomed sight for a new-look frontline that has lost Mitch McGary to the NBA Draft, graduated Jordan Morgan and saw Jon Horford transfer. But so far, through four games, Beilein has seen glimpses of promise, whether it be Doyle’s late-game heroics Monday night or the 18-point performance Max Bielfeldt poured on Bucknell a week ago.

“I like Mark’s [Donnal] development, as well,” Beilein added. “They all got a piece of it, and we’ll ride the hot hand as we go forward.”

For Tuesday night, in the Legends Classic championship game against No. 12 Villanova, the Michigan interior will face its toughest test. The Wolverines were outrebouned by the Ducks — a team that suited up no one taller than 6-foot-8 — on Monday night. In the title game, Michigan big men will face the duo of JayVaughn Pinkston, a mismatch forward, paired with Daniel Ochefu.

But Michigan will enter the contest with a little momentum. The Wolverines not only tested, they won, and in the process saw another player emerge as a contributor.

“We needed that,” Beilein said. “Whether it be the Detroit game the other night but between that and our European trip, we hadn’t been challenged. This is a huge step in our development.

“I think we find out something more everyday.”

Michigan expects to have freshman power forward for exhibition game Monday

Leave a comment

Among the many personnel losses incurred by Michigan at the end of last season were the departures of Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford. While those two didn’t receive as much publicity as Nik Stauskas or Glenn Robinson III (or Mitch McGary when he was healthy), Morgan and Horford provided the Wolverines with valuable depth and experience on their way to a Big Ten regular season title and Elite Eight appearance.

Without those two Michigan will be young in the front court, with redshirt freshman Mark Donnal and true freshman Ricky Doyle competing for minutes. And while Donnal’s emerged during practices, a nagging ankle injury slowed Doyle down some in practice.

Friday afternoon head coach John Beilein had some good news regarding Doyle, as he stated that the 6-foot-9 power forward will be able to play in the team’s exhibition game Monday night according to Dylan Burkhardt of UMHoops.com.

Doyle has been battling through a ‘slight’ ankle sprain throughout the last few weeks which has limited him in practice. However, the 6-foot-9 center is expected to be full-go in Michigan’s exhibition opener.

“Ricky has had these little nagging (injuries), he wasn’t going full court until yesterday and then he had another slight problem before that we were just overly cautious with him,” Beilein explained. “So most of the minutes have gone with Mark right now, DJ and Max (Bielfeldt) have had minutes and now Ricky is back at full go. I’m hoping to give Ricky some really good time this upcoming game so he gets in there more.”

Fellow freshman D.J. Wilson and senior Max Bielfeldt are also competing for playing time, and the team’s game against Wayne State will give Beilein and his staff the chance to evaluate their options against outside competition. Guards Caris LeVert, Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin will likely lead the way for the Wolverines, but they’re going to need those big men as well.

Michigan is ranked 24th in the Associated Press preseason Top 25 poll.