November 13, 2012
Wolverines headed for New York
Michigan left little doubt on its way to Madison Square Garden, crushing Cleveland State, 77-47, in the NIT Season Tipoff at Crisler Arena Tuesday night. The Wolverines (3-0) steamrolled CSU (2-1), on their way to attaining the NIT semifinals in New York.
Michigan squeezed the life out of the Cleveland State early, holding it to 22.2 percent shooting in the first half. The Wolverines connected on 18 of 28 (64.3 percent) over the same stretch, piling up a 42-14 halftime lead and possibly making Big Apple travel arrangements a the intermission.
"I was really pleased, especially coming out with that first half," U-M head coach John Beilein said. "Our defense was terrific. It fueled our offense, which was basically fast break. It really allowed us to just get out in front so much, the lead was going to be hard to overcome no matter what Cleveland State did."
The Wolverines scored the first eight points of the game, then finished the half on a 23-5 run to capture the 28-point halftime edge. That lead swelled to as many as 33 in the second half, while CSU never drew closer than 23 after intermission.
Freshman Nik Stauskas got his offense going in the game, nailing 3 of 4 three-pointers and 5 of 6 shots overall to pile up 15 points and six rebounds for the Wolverines. Cleveland State became so aware of him that at one point, it went to a diamond-and-one defense on the sharpshooting freshman.
That was after playing a zone that Stauskas lit up.
"He sees a zone and he certainly enjoys that," Beilein said. "There are so many things coming at them all
but when he gets out on the court, he always seems comfortable with me. He can be more aggressive, actually. He's got a feel for the game that's tough to teach."
The Wolverines featured the usual array of offensive weapons, junior guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. leading all scorers with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists. Sophomore point guard Trey Burke tossed in 12 points, with seven assists and three rebounds.
Freshman Mitch McGary came off the bench to score six points and grab nine rebounds, in relief of redshirt junior Jordan Morgan, who scored eight points despite some foul trouble. Freshman Glenn Robinson III scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds, hitting 5 of 6 at the free throw line.
"All of them are really outstanding
if you key one thing, we can do something else," Beilein said of the Wolverines' versatility. "It really helps."
What could hurt his team, he realizes, is the lack of close contests so far. Michigan's 30-point win follows a 38-point blowout over Slippery Rock and a 37-point trouncing of IUPUI in the first round of the NIT.
Beilein assured his crew will get work on close-game situations in practice, in anticipation of the uptick in competition in New York.
"We're going to work four days of late-game situations," Beilein said. "We haven't seen those. Getting those in these early season games are always beneficial. We haven't had any of those. As a result, it's really important that we emphasize those in the next four days.
"We do them every day, something that is late game, but not when the game is really on the line. We'll do doubleheaders, do it twice a day."
Most of all, the Michigan head coach felt gratified the Wolverines are heading to Madison Square Garden, for a shot at the Tipoff title.
"At Michigan, you come to win championships," Beilein said. "This is one of the most prestigious preseason tournaments. It's one of the first, and it rivals Maui with its prestige.
"Many of the kids have not been to New York. They have not been to the Garden, and we wanted them to get there. We have seven or eight days to prepare, and we're going to get better. I've got to identify all the things we've got to do to get better.
"I'm excited that this team can go to one of the most storied places to play basketball. We've got a lot of fans in New York, a lot of Michigan fans in that general metropolitan area. I'd like to see them all."
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