Michigan holds Jordan Morgan from practice, hopeful he can build off Illinois win
The Wolverines also looked as good as they have in a month Sunday.
Morgan played 17 minutes off the bench for the Wolverines in a 71-58 win, scoring just one point. But his defense, even on a hobbled ankle, was crucial for Michigan during a lopsided second half.
"(Monday) we held him out a little bit on the advice of our trainer so today he can go full-go (Tuesday)," Michigan coach John Beilein said on Ann Arbor's WTKA 1050-AM on Tuesday. "We'll see how he does (Tuesday), but it's a hard role to embrace.
"I've never heard so much buzz about a guy scoring one point. But it's the truth, it's the absolute truth."
No. 4 Michigan (23-4, 10-4) will visit Penn State (6:30 p.m., BTN) on Wednesday.
After the Illinois win, Morgan said he felt no lingering pain in his injured ankle, which was twisted badly late last month in a road win at Illinois.
Moving without limitations for the first time in weeks, Morgan was able to help Michigan completely shut down Illinois' ball-screen offense, and sparked the Wolverines on the glass as well -- keeping the Illini off the offensive boards for the entire second half.
Morgan's rebounding and defense is key to Michigan's transition game, even if he's not the one finishing the plays at the rim.
"It's like the guard or the tackle in a game, nobody knows why Denard (Robinson) got all those yards, but there could have been some great holes opened by a guard or tackle, a tight end, somebody," Beilein said. "It's the same idea. There's guys on teams that help teams win with their motor, their energy, their IQ and their communication skills.
"When Jordan is doing that, we are a much better team."
Beilein opted to start freshman Mitch McGary against Illinois, but ended up using Morgan as his primary big man due to McGary's foul troubles.
Michigan has said it would love to be able to play Morgan at power forward alongside McGary and sophomore Jon Horford in the paint, which would give freshman Glenn Robinson III the opportunity to get more rest and spend more time against players his own size.
Morgan has to be 100 percent healthy to pull that off, though, something Beilein hopes is finally about to happen again.
"He's got to continue to embrace that part of his game," he said. "Sometimes he'll have one and we'll win, sometimes he'll have 17 and we'll win, and he's playing the exact same game."
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