In the second half of the 67-59 win over Wisconsin, Badgers player Brad Davison hit Michigan’s Mike Smith with an elbow. No call was made, prompting an argument from Howard – who was given a technical for dissenting.
But the Wolverines responded very well to what happened. They went on a 35-16 run after that, overcoming an 11-point deficit to win the game in their first appearance since late-January.
After the game, Howard admitted that the controversy may have lit a fire under his team. He called it “a huge test for our culture” and liked seeing everyone band together.
“I’m sure it did (fire us up). I thought from my angle, it looked like a non basketball play,” Howard said after the game, via 247Sports. “But the referees took a look at the monitor. I trust their decision saying it was a basketball play. That’s fine. But our guys looked at it and saw their brother looking pretty dazed and affected by the elbow. But Mike told his teammates ‘Hey I’m fine, I’m ready to go.’
“He also told me because I was fired up too. But it was nice to see them all rally together. It was a huge test for our culture. Number one thing in our culture that we say and believe in is that we are a family. Family got tested and everyone banded together like brothers, like family.”
The win lifted Michigan to 14-1 on the season – the best record in the Big Ten. They boast the No. 3 record and face a few tough games against ranked foes over the next few weeks.
But if Juwan Howard has his team rolling on all cylinders, there might not be anyone they can’t beat.
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