Bryant Bulldogs Blown Out at Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich. –(AP) Judging from the results of their first two games, Michigan’s shooters may start begging coach John Beilein to schedule Bryant more than once every four years.
Four years after the Wolverines tied a school record with 16 3-pointers against the Bulldogs, they broke the mark with 17 Wednesday night in a 96-60 rout.
It appeared that Michigan was only going to tie the record again, but with the shot clock set to expire just before the game clock, little-used reserve Kam Chatman banked in an awkward shot at the buzzer to put up a new mark.
"That was actually a funny sequence," Beilein said. "We were yelling at them not to shoot and just take the shot-clock violation, but they all know how much I hate turnovers, so they were all passing the ball so they wouldn’t get one. It’s actually a team turnover, but they didn’t realize it, so Kam put one up."
The Wolverines didn’t know about the record until several minutes later.
"We had no idea — we were just laughing because Kam wasn’t supposed to shoot and then he knocks down that ugly shot," said Caris LeVert. "They told us when we got back to the locker room that it was a new record, so that was cool."
Just like 2011, the Bulldogs played zone defense for most of the game, and the Wolverines were able to pass the ball through it and hit shots from the outside.
"A few weeks ago, I didn’t think we had a good passing team, but we’ve put up 50 assists in our last two non-conference games," Beilein said. "We thought we had three or four guys who could really pass, but there are others stepping up."
LeVert had 19 points and eight assists as the Wolverines (10-3) had five players in double figures as they prepare to open Big Ten play on Dec. 30 at Illinois.
Bryant (2-10) lost its ninth straight game, and has one more non-conference game against Dartmouth on New Year’s Eve before beginning Northeast Conference play on Jan. 2.
Hunter Ware led Bryant with 26 points and Marcel Pettway added 15, but only two other players scored more than two points.
"I didn’t like our defense much, but Ware had 26 against Duke, too," Beilein said. "We aren’t the only ones who couldn’t stop him."
The beating was nowhere near as lopsided as the 59-point victory the Wolverines picked up on Saturday against Youngstown State, but it wasn’t competitive for long. Michigan led 12-10 after four minutes, but slowly pulled away, and held a 57-35 edge at the intermission.
The Bulldogs held a 16-14 advantage in points in the paint in the half, thanks to 12 points from Pettway, but Michigan outscored them 43-19 on jump shots. The Wolverines shot 60 percent (12 of 20) on 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes, including four from Duncan Robinson and three from LeVert.
After passing their previous season high for 3-pointers in the first half, it seemed like the record would fall easily, but the Wolverines took their foot off the gas with the big lead.
Aubrey Dawkins hit the 15th with seven minutes to play but D.J. Wilson didn’t tie the mark until there was 1:55 left. Max Wagner missed on Michigan’s next possession, and it looked like the Wolverines would run out the clock at the end of the game without trying a shot.
More important for the team, though, was Zak Irvin hitting two of his four 3-pointers. Irvin came into the game shooting 17 percent for the season, and had gone 0 for 6 in the last three games.
"It seemed like the shooting was contagious tonight," he said. "Caris made one and then Duncan (Robinson) made one, and then I finally got one to go down. That felt great."
Bryant: The Bulldogs were playing Michigan for the second time, exactly four years after the teams played at the Crisler Center. Butler led that game midway through the first half, but eventually lost 87-71 to a team led by Darius Morris and Tim Hardaway Jr.
Michigan: The Wolverines joked Saturday that they were going to work toward getting Irvin a triple-double against the Bulldogs. LeVert and Derrick Walton Jr. had picked up the fourth and fifth in school history in the last two games, and it is not known if a college basketball team has ever had one in three straight games. Irvin, though, only managed six rebounds and a pair of assists.
Bryant plays at Dartmouth on Dec. 31.
Michigan travels to Illinois on Dec. 30.