The Wolverine

April 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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18 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2020 He returned against Illinois Jan. 21, only to tweak the injury and miss the decisive final few minutes. Michi- gan lost that one, 64-62, because it couldn't hit free throws down the stretch. Livers went a perfect 34 of 34 from the line in Big Ten play this season. Did they miss him? Does a na- ked Alaskan miss his long johns in January? "We're a different team when we have Isaiah," head coach Juwan Howard simply stated, during that January cold stretch. An ankle injury eventually cost Livers a couple more games, and he wasn't 100 percent heading into a tournament time that wound up never arriving. He is 100 percent con- vinced he's getting tested, and that he intends to pass this exam. "It's definitely the most challeng- ing," Livers said, comparing this sea- son to all others. "I've never had the amount of injuries I've had this year in all my years of playing basketball. Having two injuries that you've got to play through, got to be tough and be there for your team … "You have to be smart and man- age them with your athletic training people. It's definitely tough. It's chal- lenged me a couple of times this year. But I think I'm doing a pretty good job of handling it, and trying to be positive as much as possible." One of the most poignant on-court moments involved the return against Illinois. The moment Livers reinjured the groin, his face betrayed the not again emotional pushback against positivity. "It was like, man, I can't catch a break here," Livers said, recalling the moment. "Then the ankle thing happened." Livers tied for the team lead in scoring (12.9 points per contest) this season, and was the team's top three-point threat (40.2 percent) and free throw shooter (95.7 percent). PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL BY JOHN BORTON I saiah Livers hasn't gotten cheated in three basketball seasons at Michi- gan. He's won a Big Ten Tournament championship and come up one vic- tory shy of a national title. The U-M junior forward and former Mr. Basketball in the state of Michigan has experienced plenty in his sport of choice. But he's never gone through a basketball season quite like this one, on any level. Fate played a cruel game of Whack-A-Mole with his lower body most of this season. A pulled groin sidelined him from five straight Big Ten games at the beginning of January. Not coinciden- tally, the Wolverines lost four of them and pulled the other one out at home in double overtime. Winter Of His Discontent Isaiah Livers Endures A Season Of Setbacks

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