Dickinson, Houstan come up big for Michigan in key road win at Indiana
Bloomington, Ind. — Just three days ago, the Wolverines watched from afar as the Hoosiers were swarmed during a court-storming celebration at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall after an upset win over No. 4 Purdue.
Fast forward to Sunday and the scene was much different. There was sophomore center Hunter Dickinson urging the hushed crowd to make some noise. There was freshman forward Moussa Diabate letting out a roar after scoring in the paint through contact. There was freshman forward Caleb Houstan celebrating one of his career-high five made 3-pointers.
By the time it was all over, Michigan had the red-and-white clad fans streaming to the exits well before the final buzzer sounded as it picked up a resume-boosting 80-62 win and did something nobody else has been able to do this season: Beat Indiana at home.
BOX SCORE: Michigan 80, Indiana 62
“We just stay focused,” said sophomore forward Terrance Williams II, who finished with 10 points. “We all saw that game, we saw what happened, but we just stuck with what we do…and it really didn't have any affect on us, to be honest. We just continued to do what we do.”
For the second straight contest that meant knocking down outside shots, getting the job done defensively and leaning on big games from Dickinson, who finished with 25 points, nine rebounds and three made 3-pointers, and Houstan, who scored a season-high 19 points.
After Indiana closed out the first half strong and cut Michigan’s 16-point lead in half, the Wolverines (9-7, 3-3 Big Ten) came roaring out of the break. Grad transfer guard DeVante’ Jones took an outlet pass from Dickinson, scored a fast-break layup through contact and converted a three-point play. Houstan buried a 3-pointer and capped a 12-2 run with a wide-open jumper to make it 52-36 with 15:54 remaining.
Indiana countered with a quick 7-0 run when Dickinson went to the bench, with Trayce Jackson-Davis scoring a pair of layups to pull within nine and force a Michigan timeout. Dickinson promptly re-entered the game and snapped it with a 3-pointer, starting a run of deep balls. Houstan canned his fourth 3-pointer, this one from the right corner, before Dickinson drained another deep ball one from atop the key to put Michigan ahead, 61-47, with 9:29 remaining.
“When you see the ball go through net, it definitely builds confidence for the players and it also helps on a road because it takes some of the energy out of the crowd,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “We had some runs that were thrown at us and the beautiful part about it was we were able to respond.”
As the teams began to trade baskets, Dickinson countered to keep the crowd quiet. He flipped up a hook shot, threw down a two-handed dunk while being fouled for a three-point play and split two free throws after drawing another foul to make it 69-54 with 5:21 to play.
Parker Stewart made three straight 3-pointers to keep Indiana in it and cut the deficit down to 11, but Michigan answered each time to keep the lead from dipping to single digits. Jones scored a driving layup. Diabate (10 points) made two free throws. Dickinson scored another layup through contact.
From there, the Hoosiers never posed a threat as Houstan provided the dagger with his fifth 3-pointer to make it 78-62 with 1:15 remaining, sending Michigan to its ninth straight win over Indiana.
Jackson-Davis finished with 17 points and Xavier Johnson scored 14 for Indiana (14-5, 5-4), which fell to 12-1 at home. The Hoosiers shot 39.3% from the field (24-for-61) and made five 3-pointers, while the Wolverines shot 56.9% from the field (29-for-51) and made 11 deep balls.
“When I look at the stat sheet and look at the plus/minus, everybody had minuses, so that just lets me know we weren't there,” Indiana coach Mike Woodson said. “It's just unacceptable, especially coming off a great game like the Purdue game.
“We got down so much. We'd make runs and then we'd kill ourselves by giving the run back. We haven't been down a whole lot this year like that, and when we have, we've gotten stops.”
Just like the second half, Michigan got off to a solid start in the first half to put Indiana in an early hole. Diabate was effective inside and finished at the rim. Jones snagged an offensive rebound and whipped a pass to Dickinson for an open dunk. Houstan picked up where he left off against Maryland and drained his first 3-point attempt.
As the defense dug in and the misses piled up for Indiana — the Hoosiers missed 12 of their first 16 field-goal attempts — Michigan kept firing away from deep. Houstan canned a corner 3-pointer and Dickinson buried a deep ball from straightaway to give the Wolverines a 17-7 lead with 12:46 left in the first half.
Michigan continued to put on a shooting display and limit Indiana to one-shot possessions during a 12-4 spurt. Dickinson hit a deep jumper late in the shot clock in front of Indiana’s bench. Senior forward Brandon Johns Jr. swished a 3-pointer from the left wing. Williams followed with a deep ball of his own on the next possession as Michigan made five consecutive 3-point attempts and led 29-13 at the 7:16 mark.
The Hoosiers clawed back with a 15-5 run that featured a pair of three-point plays from Jackson-Davis and a 3-pointer from Miller Kopp — snapping Indiana’s 0-for-7 start from deep — to cut the deficit to 34-28 with 2:04 left in the half.
But with Dickinson, Houstan and Jones all on the bench with two fouls apiece down the stretch, Williams stepped up and quelled Indiana’s momentum. He snapped a 9-0 spurt with a fadeaway jumper and a 3-pointer.
Then after Indiana pulled within six, he drove into the paint and found Johns for a dunk before scoring on another strong take with a left-handed finish. That gave Michigan a 38-30 lead at the break that it wouldn’t relinquish en route to its second straight win, with a home game against Northwestern and a trip to Michigan State up next.
“Coming off the win versus Maryland, we were trying to build momentum because we needed it, especially coming into the stretch right here,” Dickinson said. “We knew that this stretch coming up was very important for us. We were playing for our season was what Coach Howard was saying.
“This momentum that we have right now can steamroll and carry over into the next games that are coming up. Hopefully we can build off this and keep the train rolling."