The Michigan Wolverines defeated the Huskies of Houston Baptist 107-53 in front of a sparse crowd at the Crisler Center. The Wolverines moved to 6-3 on the season, while the Huskies dropped to 3-6. The fans trickled in throughout the first half, with one man wearing a “I’m too young for noon games” t-shirt.
The sleepy crowd became more raucous following the start of the game, as the Wolverines entertained the populace with a barrage of dunks and three pointers. Michigan shot a blistering 64 percent throughout the game, and made 16 shots from behind the arc.
The Huskies refused to go away in the opening minutes, bringing the score to 18-15 with 13:40 left to play in the first half. They would not get any closer than that, as Michigan began to elevate their play, ripping off a 22-8 run to put them firmly in control at the seven minute media timeout.
The Wolverines went on to close the half leading 60-34. However, the Huskies had shot well throughout the half, hitting 66.7% of their first half shots. Michigan only shot a percentage point better, but made 23 shots. In contrast, Houston Baptist only attempted 21 shots in the half. Michigan also won the turnover battle, with the Huskies losing the ball 10 times to the Wolverines’ one. Said John Beilein, “I’ve never seen an 18-1 assist to turnover ratio at half time.”
Nik Stauskas led the way throughout the first half. With family in the house, the sophomore scored 25 points while hitting 6 shots from beyond the arc. He came out shooting early and never looked back.
Glenn Robinson III also rebounded from a quiet game against Duke Tuesday. Robinson opened up his game early, grabbing key rebounds and cutting to the basket for easy buckets. Both Beilein and McGary talked about how Robinson had stepped up his leadership in the previous practice, and it showed in his 17-point effort.
The second half was the Mitch McGary story. The big man grabbed 9 rebounds, and tried to start a fast break almost every time he got the ball. He took the ball up in transition and garnered 6 assists. “I wanted to leave him out there to get the heart rate going, and he’s gaining that trust with the coaching staff,” Beilein said. One play that helped the trust level was a typical McGary hustle play. He hustled down the floor to grab a loose ball, tossing an alley-oop to Robinson, one that had Robinson grinning. “I always kind of smile when I see Mitch bringing the ball up the court,” said Robinson.
There was a scary moment when McGary went up for a contested rebound, and came down hard on his knee and back. After a few agonizing moments, the center got back up. When John Beilein subbed him out, McGary skipped to the bench while waving his arms, imploring the crowd to get louder.
The sophomore trio also got some help from their freshman counterparts, with Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin both chipping in 14 points apiece. “I had a good rhythm in the shootaround going into the game,” said Irvin. It showed when the freshman came out and hit his first shot.
The game was well in hand by the time the reserves came in with two and a half minutes left. Andrew Dakich hit his first career field goal that brought the bench to their feet as the game clock ticked to a close.
Michigan plays #2 Arizona at Crisler Center next Saturday.
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