Michigan starts slow, finishes strong to top UMass Lowell

6:12 AM, Nov 9, 2013   |    comments
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Ann Arbor, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - The defending national runner-up Michigan Wolverines struggled early, but came alive in the second half and routed the UMass Lowell River Hawks, 69-42, in the season opener for both teams.

After allowing the newest member of the America East to hang around for the first half to the tune of a 23-23 tie, the seventh-ranked Wolverines (1-0) used a 21-0 run to pull away early in the second.

Caris LeVert paced the Wolverines with 17 points off the bench while Glenn Robinson III contributed 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Freshman Zak Irvin netted 10 points for Michigan, which was without star big man Mitch McGary, who is dealing with a back problem.

Prior to the game, Michigan raised its 2013 Final Four banner to the rafters of the Crisler Center. The Wolverines, led by Naismith winner and consensus All-American Trey Burke, made a miraculous run to the title game before losing to Louisville.

"To be a part of something special like, a special team," said Robinson III. "To have that banner staying up there forever is just crazy for me even to think about."

Akeem Williams had 16 points to lead UMass Lowell (0-1), which made the jump from the Northeast-10 conference at the Division-II level and joined the D-1 ranks, taking Patriot League-bound Boston University's spot in the America East.

"I thought it was a great experience for our team and the program," said UML head coach Pat Duquette. "The kids were real excited to play. And they did a great job of staying competitive in the first half."

Michigan went up 8-0 after a deep Nik Stauskas triple before the first media timeout, but it allowed the River Hawks to hang around.

Chad Holley tied the score at 13-13 with 6:43 left in the half on a 3-pointer from Williams, and the teams traded baskets until Tyler Livingston's tip-in knotted it at 23 apiece at halftime.

"They shortened that first half and didn't give us any transition buckets," said Michigan head coach John Beilein. "They made us make shots and we didn't."

UML took its only lead early in the second half on a Williams layup, but Michigan controlled the game from that point on.

Jon Horford made a pair of jumpers on consecutive series before freshman Derrick Walton Jr, Burke's replacement in the backcourt, drew a foul shooting a 3 and made all three from the foul line for his first collegiate points.

Spike Albrecht, who netted 17 points off the bench in last year's championship game, capped the 21-0 surge with a jumper at the 9:13 mark.

Game Notes

Horford pulled down a game and career-high 12 rebounds ... The Wolverines are back at it Tuesday when they host South Carolina State ... Williams was a three-time Northeast-10 Conference scoring champ ... UMass Lowell shot just 28.6 percent from the field.

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