Freshman Zak Irvin did his best Nik Stauskas' impression Friday, filling in for the injured Stauskas in hitting 6 of 10 three-point attempts to finish with a career high 24 points in an 87-45 win over Coppin State.
With Stauskas on the bench resting a sore ankle, Michigan took its best three-point shooter off the floor and consciously or not, there was an early emphasis on taking advantage of a mismatch physically in the low post.
The Wolverines had seven offensive rebounds in the first 10 minutes, with sophomore Glenn Robinson, senior Jordan Morgan and sophomore Mitch McGary turning them into second-chance points with a variety of face-the-basket moves.
Unofficially, the Wolverines' first 14 points came in the paint.
With Coppin State starting to sag the lane, Michigan finally unleashed its three-point prowess when Irvin buried his first attempt of the game with 11:38 remaining. Robinson and Irvin added threes within the next four minutes while junior Jon Horford had a nice put-back dunk off an offensive rebound.
On the other side of the court, the Eagles stayed within 10 points by utilizing some good ball movement and making a few tough shots, including a pair of runners that trickled over the rim to drop.
Coming out of the under-8:00 timeout, Michigan drew up a perfect alley-oop from Irvin to Robinson, bringing the rather impressive mid-afternoon crowd out of their seats.
Coppin State inched its way back to within 13, 33-20, as the Maize and Blue's open looks wouldn't fall, largely as the Wolverines began taking more shots from outside the post, as U-M got away from what had been working for the majority of the first half.
Irvin put them back up 15 leading into the under-4:00 media timeout with a nice jump shot from just inside the three-point arc. Irvin had a very nice first half, showing no fear to take the big shot.
With Michigan seemingly pressing, up 35-20, rookie point guard Derrick Walton had three strong possessions in a row. The first, driving to the hoop but missing as a pair of Eagle defenders impeded his path. Then, a three to momentarily put U-M up 18, and then after Coppin answered with a three, a nice drive and dish to Irvin for a layup.
It was again a reminder of the precocious talent the freshman ball handler possesses that should become more fruitful as he gains experience.
Sophomore guard Caris LeVert, who had been struggling in going 1 for 4 with two missed threes, closed out the half by making a tough shot from the top of the key with a defender in his face and as the clock hit 0:00.
Michigan led 42-23.
Zak Irvin: 10 points, 4 of 6 shooting, 2 of 4 threes
Glenn Robinson III: 9 points, 4 of 6 shooting, 3 boards
Derrick Walton: 3 points, 1 of 4 shooting, 3 assists
In the opening minutes, Robinson hit a three, showing a nice shot from the outside while LeVert, using some momentum he picked up at the end of the first, drove into the line to convert and And-1 situation.
Walton continued to play the aggressor, faking from the outside and pulling up for a 15-footer.
Effort from McGary on both ends of the court seemed to rattle the Eagles - a monster block was called goaltending but established McGary's presence as more and more Coppin State shots came from outside the paint.
Irvin took over after that, hitting three consecutive three-pointers to put U-M up 63-31 with 13:12 to go, and reach a career high 19 points that swelled to 24.
Michigan's size mismatch and effort continued as the Wolverines worked the glass, with Morgan at the heart of it as he grabbed offensive boards on consecutive possessions, one leading to a nice put back and the next a pair of looks for teammates.
U-M really did a lot of good things in this one, creating confidence opportunities for Walton and Irvin, who both seemed to grow stronger as the game unfolded. McGary and Morgan got a lot of run, and used their height to help the Maize and Blue finish with 16 offensive rebounds.
Robinson, meanwhile, was consistent, doing what he does - hitting some outside shots and making a few nice plays around the hoop. He still lacked the aggressiveness to take it to the hoop fans want to see and he'll likely need to play with against better competition, starting with Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge Tuesday.
But in the end, it was the kind of game Michigan expected when it scheduled Coppin State for the day after Thanksgiving - even the walk-ons got into the act as Cole McConnell, Sean Lonergan and Brad Anlauf added buckets in the final few minutes.
Zak Irvin: 24 points, 9 of 13 shooting, 6 of 10 threes
Caris LeVert: 15 points, 5 of 10 shooting, 4 boards
Glen Robinsin III: 14 points, 5 of 11 shooting, 6 boards
Derrick Walton: 7 points, 3 of 8 shooting, 7 assists