Michigan sets 3-point records in rout of Central Arkansas
Ann Arbor — Michigan has lived and died by the 3-point shot all season.
On Tuesday night, the Wolverines took it to another level.
Michigan put on an impressive long-range display and buried Central Arkansas with a single-game program record 19 made 3-pointers on 45 attempts in a 97-53 blowout win at Crisler Center.
BOX SCORE: Michigan 97, Central Arkansas 53
The previous record for makes was 17 against Bryant on Dec. 23, 2015, and attempts was 42 against FGCU on Dec. 22, 2008.
“I didn’t expect that,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “We caught them at the right time and really made shots. We got a lot of guys who can make shots from the outside, so a zone sometimes can be a tough defense to play against us and our kids really played well.”
Zak Irvin, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson led the 3-point barrage with four deep balls apiece for Michigan (8-3), which had nine players make a shot beyond the arc. Moritz Wagner scored a team-high 18 on 8-for-9 shooting and D.J. Wilson added 11 points and seven rebounds.
From the opening tip, Michigan proved it was content shooting over Central Arkansas’ 2-3 matchup zone as Abdur-Rahkman knocked down a 3-pointer on the opening possession to start the show.
Michigan misfired on its next five shot attempts — all 3-pointers — before Wilson scored on an offensive putback and Derrick Walton Jr. sank two free throws.
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Wagner helped spark an 8-0 spurt with a layup before Abdur-Rahkman drained back-to-back 3-pointers to open up a double-digit lead, 15-5, with 13:34 left in the first half.
“We knew that we were going to get open shots either kicking it out, drive and kick or throwing it into the high post and kicking it out,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “We knew that we could get open threes."
Michigan began to add some separation by rattling off 14 straight points, spearheaded by four more 3-pointers, to make it 33-11 at the 6:30 mark.
Irvin kicked off the flurry with a deep ball from the wing, Robinson came right off the bench and quickly joined the party with back-to-back 3-pointers, and freshman Xavier Simpson capped it with another long ball from the corner.
“We didn't want to just pass the ball around and just jack up threes,” Irvin said. “But I mean when they're falling the way they were and how open they were, (Beilein) was satisfied with that.”
Irvin and Wagner added Michigan’s eighth and ninth made 3-pointers in the final four minutes of the half before Wagner threw down a dunk as the Wolverines made all seven of their shots inside the arc and cruised into the break with a 49-20 cushion.
Michigan continued its long-range target practice in the second half, opening with back-to-back 3-point attempts with Wagner missing and Abdur-Rahkman hitting to push Michigan’s lead to 52-22.
Wagner then went to work, scoring nine of the Wolverines next 11 points with three jumpers and a 3-pointer before Walton drained a 3-pointer and Robinson knocked down back-to-back deep balls to give Michigan a commanding 72-31 lead with 13:35 left.
Then at the 7:14 mark, Wilson buried a 3-pointer from the corner give Michigan an 83-40 lead and tie the single-game record with its 17th made 3-pointer.
It wasn’t until Beilein emptied the bench moments later that the players realized they were on the cusp of setting a new program mark.
“We were over on the bench and saw it pop up on the big screen,” Irvin said. “It's funny that (freshman Ibi Watson) ended up hitting it. So that was awesome to see him make it, but we had no clue at any point in the game.”
Watson bounced in the record-breaking shot — which was also his first made 3-pointer of the season — from the wing with 3:58 left before Brent Hibbitts added another 40 seconds later for good measure.
“I think some of the older guys knew about it, but I didn't know at the time that that was the record,” Watson said. “It was pretty cool to do that.”
Michigan shot 51.6 percent (32-for-62) from the field, including 9-for-22 from 3-point range in the first half and 10-for-23 in the second.
Jordan Howard scored 14 and Derreck Brooks 12 for Central Arkansas (1-9), which never led.
“We knew coming in that they could really shot the basketball,” Central Arkansas coach Russ Pennell said. “They just made tons of shots. You take 62 shots and 45 are threes, it's pretty evident how you're trying to attack us.
“The fact that their bigs shoot it so well, that's a rarity to have that many that can ring the bell from that deep. That's hard to guard because generally when you're playing somebody there's one and a lot of times two guys you don't really have to guard behind that line. You play them, they just stretch you out. To me, up close and personal, that was more impressive than even on film.”