Lahaina, Hawaii — It didn’t take long for the Michigan basketball team to bounce back at the Maui Invitational.
The Wolverines rolled to an early lead and never looked back in a 102-64 win over tournament host Chaminade, a Division II team from Honolulu.
The victory lifts Michigan (4-1) to the fifth-place game at 5 p.m. Wednesday against VCU.
It also took a little bit of the sting away from a 77-75 loss to LSU in the Wolverines’ opener here 21 hours earlier in a game the Wolverines led by nine with five minutes to play, and one in which they missed a 3-pointer and a putback from close range in the final seconds.
“After last night’s tough loss the only thing we could focus on was: ‘How do we come out of this trip? How do we have Thanksgiving dinner and come out of this thing 2-1?’ “ Michigan coach John Beilein said. “There’s going to be one team come out of here 3-0 and that obviously wasn’t going to be us, so the order of the day was to take one game at a time and I really liked (that), under the circumstances.
“I wanted to go through my whole career, if I could, without playing Chaminade. Today, there it was in front of us and we ended up getting the win and we’ll take it. We improved today, just like we did last night.”
The Wolverines were able to empty their bench against the Silverswords — all 13 UM players who were dressed played in the Lahaina Civic Center, although several of the team’s boosters apparently chose to go to the beach for the contest that began at 3 p.m. local time.
Two of the loudest cheers from the UM faithful came on back-to-back trips down the floor when freshman Isaiah Livers slammed the ball home to finish a fast break, then hit a corner 3-pointer to push the lead to 91-53 with 3:35 to play.
The Wolverines shot 37-for-57 (64.9 percent) for the game, including 20-for-29 in the second half. They hit 15 of 28 3-point shots.
Charles Matthews led the shooting parade, going 8-for-8 from the field, including 2-for-2 from beyond the arc, but missed one of his five free throws.
His 22 points led five Wolverines in double-figure scoring — he also led the team with 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting, including 3-for-4 on 3-pointers, he had a game-high five assists.
Matthews now has 50 points, 18 rebounds and seven assists in two games here.
“I’m happy that we came back and won this game,” Matthews said. “We lost a close one yesterday, but as a team you’ve got to come back.”
Michigan had 22 assists on 37 baskets.
“I think the way we came out, we came out with almost some spite to us after last night’s loss,” Beilein said. “We watched 25 clips (from the LSU game) this morning that probably were pretty painful for us to watch. They know how fragile a win and a loss can be, how closely it can change. I just liked the way we came out and played really hard, knowing that Chaminade is the underdog. Come out and play, not take it for granted, go out and play the way we did today.”
Chaminade (2-2) fell to 7-92 all-time in its own 34-year-old tournament. Michigan led 44-25 at halftime and the lead grew to 100-59 on a 3-pointer by Livers with 51 seconds to play. Michigan limited the Silverswords to 23-for-64 (38.1 percent) shooting.
“Obviously the first half was kind of rough for us, shooting the ball 2-fof-11 from the 3-point line,” Chaminade coach Eric Bovaird said. “When we’re not knocking down 3-point shots, it’s kind of rough.”
Robert Collias is a freelance writer.