The Wolverine

March 2020 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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82 THE WOLVERINE MARCH 2020 M ichigan seemed to be on its way to a special season before Dec. 21. That's when the Wolver- ines played Presbyterian, a game in which junior forward Isaiah Livers went down with a groin injury after only three minutes on the court. Livers went up for a dunk, came down wrong and immediately gri- maced in making his way to the bench. He wouldn't be seen again un- til Jan. 25, when his return sparked a very good home performance against Illinois. The Wolverines were leading in that one and seemed primed to pull away when Livers went down again with the same injury, getting knocked off balance and landing awkwardly. U-M lost to the Illini, but rallied to win at Nebraska and against Rutgers in his absence. A home loss to Ohio State put the season on the brink, the Wolverines sitting at 4-7 in the Big Ten due in large part to Livers' absence. It was hard to watch, he admitted. There were times the junior went to desperate measures to try to get back on the floor, sneaking on to the court when nobody was around. "Don't tell the medical staff, but I tried to get on the court," he said. "I tried to do my cutting and jump- ing and stuff on my own, just get up and down and see how it feels. It just wasn't there. "Those days really sucked. I had to go home and tell my family that, nah, I wasn't feeling it today, either. It was getting to a point like, 'Damn, when is it going to feel good again for me to get out there and play?'" That day was Feb. 8 against Michi- gan State, essentially a make-or- break home game. Livers started, scored 14 points, grabbed four re- bounds in 31 minutes and made two of his five triples. Michigan had its primary three-point threat back, and it opened the floor offensively in a 77-68 win. Livers was's Player of the Game in a 79-54 blowout win at Northwestern Feb. 12, notching 17 points and five rebounds, and he put up 12 points and five rebounds in an 89-65 win over Indiana Feb. 16. "It's been great having a guy like Isaiah Livers back. He's a special talent," head coach Juwan Howard said. "As we all know, he can shoot the ball very well from the outside. He has great size. "His presence on the floor just makes us a better team. We saw it throughout the season, in the first half of the season when he was healthy. We played good basketball when he was in the lineup. When he was out with his injury, we truly missed him." And Livers missed being on the floor with his teammates. Howard   MICHIGAN BASKETBALL Isaiah Livers' Return Sparks Michigan Resurgence Livers' return from injury helped the Wolverines surge to wins in three straight outings, start- ing with a clutch performance (14 points and four rebounds) in the 77-68 victory against Michigan State Feb. 8. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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