By NOAH TRISTER/AP Sports Writer
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – At halftime, Houston Baptist was shooting 67 percent from the field and 67 percent from 3-point range – and trailed by 26.
The Huskies were no match for Michigan’s nearly flawless offense early on, and the 22nd-ranked Wolverines went on to their highest point total in over 15 years, beating Houston Baptist 107-53 on Saturday. Rob Lewis and Ricmonds Vilde scored 10 points each for the Huskies.
“We felt we were doing what we wanted to do offensively other than taking care of the ball a little bit better,” Houston Baptist coach Ron Cottrell said. “If we had shot the ball better in the second half and taken care of the ball better in the first half I think we could’ve been in a lot better situation.”
Nik Stauskas scored 17 of his 25 points in the first half for Michigan. The Wolverines (6-3) bounced back quickly from a loss at Duke. Michigan led 60-34 at halftime after shooting 68 percent from the field – 10 of 16 from 3-point range – and committing only one turnover.
The Wolverines ended up tying a school record for 3-pointers with 16.
“Obviously the Duke game, it was a struggle for all of us, pretty much,” Stauskas said. “To get back out here and hit some shots and get a win, that definitely helps with our confidence.”
Glenn Robinson III scored 17 points for Michigan, which picked Houston Baptist’s zone apart and punished the Huskies (3-6) in transition.
Michigan had not scored this many points since a 112-64 win over Indiana on Feb. 22, 1998.
“We came in and played quite a bit of zone in the first half and Stauskas was shooting right over the top of our shorter wings,” Cottrell said. “So we went to man and I think it was more effective for us to make them run their man offense.”
About the only anxious moment for Michigan came with 16:44 left in the game, when star big man Mitch McGary took a hard fall near the basket and appeared to hurt his right leg. But he was able to get up and made a point of running hard to the bench when a replacement entered the game. When he got back to the sideline, McGary began waving his arms and the crowd responded.
He was back in the game less than two minutes later.
At times, the 6-foot-10 McGary looked ready to take over as Michigan’s point guard. After pulling down a defensive rebound, he dribbled from one end of the court to the other before driving to the basket for a three-point play with 9:04 to go.
Moments later, he pulled off a similar effort, but this time McGary found Stauskas in the corner for a 3-pointer and an 89-43 lead.
It’s been an uneven start to the season for the Wolverines, who lost guards Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the NBA. In Tuesday’s 79-69 loss to Duke, Stauskas was held to four points and attempted only two shots from the field.
Against Houston Baptist, Michigan had no trouble finding open shots. McGary led the Michigan fast break a couple times early in the game, making a nice pass to Stauskas for a dunk on one transition opportunity.
The Huskies shot terrifically early, but it was no use with Michigan scoring seemingly at will. At one point, Houston Baptist was 9 of 12 from the field and 3 of 4 from 3-point range – but still trailed by 10. Stauskas and Robinson made back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 29-19, and another 3 by Stauskas made it 43-23.
Robinson, who has had a quiet season so far, dunked just before the buzzer to stretch Michigan’s lead to 26 at halftime. It was a remarkable margin considering Houston Baptist was 14 of 21 from the field and had gone 4 of 6 from 3-point range.
“We wanted to play tougher and harder on defense,” said Houston Baptist guard Marcel Smith, who finished with nine points. “We let them get a lot of open shots and we needed to do better on the boards.”
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