Michigan came out in maize jerseys for the opener with UMass-Lowell and a starting five of Derrick Walton Jr., Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert , Glenn Robinson III and Jon Horford. The early defense was stifling, starting with a LeVert steal on the first possession, but the Wolverines struggled early on offense before picking it up in a 69-42 win.
U-M scored the first eight points, three from the free throw line and a short runner by LeVert before, Walton Jr. found Stauskas from the corner in transition. The Riverhawks finally scored at 14:27 on a short runner.
The Wolverines then went cold for a spell despite getting good looks. LeVert got into the lane twice but missed on two short jumpers. Stauskas missed a triple from the top before Robinson kissed one off the glass from 10 feet to make it 10-4.
The Michigan big men didn't do much offensively early. Horford missed a lay-up on a nice pass from Robinson III, while Jordan Morgan got his hands on two potential offensive rebounds but didn't corral either. Horford later fumbled an offensive rebound and Morgan held too long and had a ball stripped under the basket. Max Bielfeldt also failed to finish a pretty Zak Irvin pass.
It all added up to an ugly first 15 minutes. The Wolverines started 3-of-16 from the floor and led only 11-10 at 8:10 with Stauskas, Walton and Horford on the bench.
UMass-Lowell tied it at 13 at 6:45 on a long triple off a second chance opportunity, and it remained tight for the rest of the half. The Wolverines shot only six for 23 from the floor but scored plenty from the line, going 10 for 15.
LeVert finished the half with a rebound and coast-to-coast finish to give the Wolverines a 23-21 lead before UMass-Lowell tied it on a tip in. Robinson III led Michigan scorers with 10 points, going 6-for-8 from the line, Stauskas notched seven and LeVert six. They were the only Wolverines who scored in the first half.
Michigan started slowly, Stauskas missing a four-foot runner six inches short, Walton missing a jumper and LeVert throwing a lazy pass for a UMass-Lowell steal and finish.
The Wolverines picked it up and finally gained some separation. Horford scored four straight on a dunk, followed by a short jumper. Three Walton free throws after he was fouled on a triple attempt made it 32-25 at 15:47. U-M picked up the intensity with its switching defense and went on a 21-0 run, in the bonus at the 12:52 mark.
A Zak Irvin triple and two free throws on a cut and foul extended the lead to 42-25. Morgan missed another lay-up, but Albrecht finished in transition to make it 44-25 before the Riverhawks ended a 10:11 scoring drought with two free throws at 9:06.
The Wolverines, though, were clicking. Albrecht found LeVert with a beautiful look in transition for an and-one and also hit a triple. Irvin hit another triple on a nice pass from Walton, Walton found a lane and finished an and-one and Irvin scored on a break-out. It was 64-37 with 3:00 remaining. LeVert added some insurance with a triple from the top that made it 69-39 at 1:57 before Michigan subbed all five.
LeVert led all scorers with 17 points. Robinson added 15 and seven rebounds and Stauskas had nine for the Wolverines.