UM makes record 17 3-pointers in lopsided win
Ann Arbor — One pass, then another, then another.
Nobody wanted the ball in his hands when the shot clock expired just before the game clock. Nobody wanted that darn turnover.
"Shows you how much I hate turnovers," Michigan coach John Beilein said with a smile.
So Kameron Chatman, despite the firm suggestion from the bench to take the turnover and not rub things in, took matters into his own hands and fired up a last-second 3-pointer from the corner — and, like so many on this night, it went right through the net.
That gave Michigan a program-record 17th 3-pointer in its 96-60 rout of Bryant before a surprisingly peppy crowd at Crisler Center on a miserable, rainy Wednesday night.
Michigan made 12 of those 3-pointers in the first half, led by Duncan Robinson's four — and, more notably, Zak Irvin's two.
Irvin, who had back surgery weeks before the season and still is trying to find his vertical leap, finished with a season-high 16 points. Afterward, it would've taken a bulldozer to wipe the mile-wide smile off his face.
"It was a great feeling, to be honest with you guys," Irvin said. "Especially the first 3.
"It's been a long process for me, but I just try to stay confident out there. But it's always a huge relief and a great feeling to have that first one go in."
Irvin has been working as hard as any UM player to find his game, and to his credit, even as the shots weren't falling, his defense and rebounding never faltered.
Still, UM coaches know just how much he means to the team — and he's kind of seen as the last piece to fall into place.
This week in practice, players raved about his shooting, and suggested he was close. On Monday, he took a whopping 600 3-pointers, and made about 400 of them.
"We're roommates, all of us, me, Caris (LeVert) and Zak. As soon as we saw him make the first one, I was looking for him," Derrick Walton Jr. said of Irvin, who came into the game shooting 7-of-41 on 3-pointers (17.1 percent) and was 2 of 4 in this one. "Just happy he's starting to get his legs back under him. It just brings a different dynamic to this team. Makes us a lot more dangerous."
LeVert led the Wolverines (10-3) with 19 points, including eight assists — a couple fired inside for a pair of Ricky Doyle dunks.
Robinson scored 12, no surprisingly all on 3-pointers, for his eighth consecutive game scoring in double figures, and Walton, fresh off his first career triple-double, had 11 points.
Aubrey Dawkins, in his relatively new role as sixth man, scored 10, all in the second half, including a big slam on an alley-oop from Walton.
s for the 3-pointers, eight Michigan players made them, busting the the back of the zone of Bryant (2-10), which never really was in this one, despite the hearty play of sharpshooter Hunter Ware (26 points).
"We got open looks, unselfish play and open looks," Robinson said. "That's kind of the difference in beating the zone right there."
Overall, 26 of Michigan's 37 field goals were tied to an assist, including 17 of 21 in the first half.
Michigan's previous high for 3-pointers made was 16, done three times, most recently against Houston Baptist in 2013.
This season the previous high was 14 in a win over Texas.
It wasn't all roses for Michigan, which struggled defensively in the first half. Beilein was so proud earlier this week that his defense had gotten its field-goal percentage down to below 40 percent, at 39.9. But that went out the window when Bryant, shooting just 32 percent coming into the game, shot 59.1 percent in the first half. Michigan tightened things up, and Bryant finished 48.9.
The victory marked the fourth in a row for Michigan, which closed its nonconference season with routs of Delaware State, Northern Kentucky, Youngstown State and Bryant. The Wolverines' average margin of victory in those four games was 39.25 points.
Now comes the hard part, Big Ten play, starting Dec. 30 at Illinois.
"I know a little bit more of who we are," Beilein said. "We're gonna be as ready as we can be."