Michigan makes easy work of Maryland-Eastern Shore
Ann Arbor — Fresh off a record-setting 3-point performance, Michigan’s offense picked up where it left off and flirted with another single-game program mark.
The Wolverines made their first seven shots and shot a blistering 65.4 percent to cruise to a 98-49 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Saturday at Crisler Center.
Michigan finished 34-for-52 from the field, including 12-for-21 from 3-point range, on 28 assists but fell short of the single-game record 69.2 percent (45-for-65) set Dec. 30, 1986, against Alaska-Anchorage.
Derrick Walton Jr. had 21 points on 7-for-9 shooting, six rebounds and five assists to lead Michigan (9-3), which won its fourth straight at home and set a season high for points for the third consecutive game.
Duncan Robinson scored 17, D.J. Wilson had 16 points, Zak Irvin added 11 and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had seven points and a career-high 10 assists.
Bakari Copeland scored 15 and Ryan Andino 11 for the Hawks (1-9), who fell to 0-9 on the road.
“I think we're starting to jell at the right time right before the Big Ten season starts,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “We have confidence that we can play against anybody and that we're a good team.
“Even though we lost it at the end against UCLA, we still have that confidence that we can go out there and beat anybody if we're focused.”
After Michigan made a single-game team record 19 3-pointers on Tuesday, Irvin and Walton kept the deep-ball party going and opened the game with back-to-back 3-pointers.
Following an Eastern Shore basket, Wagner hit a layup and a 3-pointer from atop the key to ignite a 13-0 run as Michigan wasted no time flexing its offensive muscle.
Wilson hit a floater in the lane and was fouled while throwing down a highlight-reel dunk over an Eastern Shore defender for a three-point play. Walton finished the flurry with another 3-pointer to give Michigan a 19-2 lead with 14:44 left in the first half.
The Wolverines didn’t miss a shot until Robinson misfired on a 3-point attempt at the 14:07 mark.
Eastern Shore cut the deficit to 12 less than two minutes later but that’s as close as it would get as the game quickly turned into a laugher.
Michigan’s defense stiffened and the Wolverines were able to get out in transition as they rattled off 12 straight points midway through the half to take command with a 40-13 cushion with 5:30 left.
Xavier Simpson kicked off the spurt with a steal and two free throws before Walton buried his third 3-pointer and threw a no-look bounce pass to Irvin for a fast-break layup. Robinson added a 3-pointer and Walton hit a step-back jumper late in the shot clock to cap the run.
“Coach (John Beilein) is on us every day about not running after we get a clean rebound and he's been on me personally about coming back to the ball opposed to catching a long outlet pass,” Walton said. “I think we made the proper adjustments and we were able to get some easy baskets.”
Michigan’s lead swelled to 49-20 following an Abdur-Rahkman layup with 1:01 remaining before the Wolverines took a 27-point advantage into halftime.
The second half turned into a slam dunk contest as Wilson put another Eastern Shore defender on a poster and drew the foul with a two-handed slam. Wilson added a one-handed baseline dunk and Irvin threw down a fast-break dunk to push it to 58-26 with 16:32 left.
The Wolverines continued to pour it on and used Walton’s fifth 3-pointer, nine straight points by Robinson — a layup, four free throws and a 3-pointer — an Abdur-Rahkman 3-pointer and an Ibi Watson dunk to put the game well out of reach, 85-38, with 7:32 to go.
Beilein emptied the bench with 5:18 left and Eastern Shore never cut the deficit under 40 the rest of the way.
Michigan has one final nonconference tune-up Thursday against Furman before opening Big Ten play at Iowa on Jan. 1.
“I'm still watching this team and trying to get us to reach every bit of potential that we can,” Beilein said. “We're at where we're at. That Virginia Tech (loss) is in our craw. We might have lost to Texas because we've been too full of ourselves but you credit Virginia Tech. We did not play with any grit in that game.
“I'd rather be one more win and one less loss right now, but it happened and the only recourse is it'll make us better.”