Strong from get-go: Michigan pummels UC Riverside
Ann Arbor — Michigan showed no signs of a Hawaiian hangover when it took on the University of California-Riverside on Sunday afternoon at Crisler Center.
Moritz Wagner scored the Wolverines’ first seven points from the floor and finished with a game-high 21 as Michigan cruised to an 87-42 win in the team’s first action since playing three games in three days last week at the Maui Invitational.
Next on deck for Michigan (6-1) will be a trip to Chapel Hill on Wednesday, where ninth-ranked North Carolina awaits for an ACC-Big Ten Challenge showdown.
BOX SCORE: Michigan 87, UC Riverside 42
The Wolverines ran away from Riverside quickly, building a lead that ballooned to 29 points in the first half. It was a nice break from the usual for Michigan, as early in the season they were dogged by slow starts against what many considered inferior competition.
Michigan’s defense was suffocating, especially in a first half when it forced Riverside (2-3) into 10 turnovers that went for 11 points the other way. The Wolverines continued to play hard on the defensive end in the second half as they didn’t allow a single Riverside player to reach double digits in scoring.
In the half-court offense, Riverside just didn’t have the size and athleticism to match up with Michigan. Wagner was able to get his shot off from anywhere on the floor, while Charles Matthews (17 points) was able to get to the bucket with ease. Six of Matthews’ seven field goals came from inside the arc.
Freshman Eli Brooks got the start at point guard for a third consecutive game, something that isn’t normal for a first-year player in John Beilein’s complicated offense. Brooks played within the frame of the offense, finishing with eight points, four rebounds, two assists and just a single turnover.
Duncan Robinson chipped in with 13 points and Jordan Poole was the fourth in double figures with 11 for the Wolverines.
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer