ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The mood on Michigan’s campus was subdued, and Crisler Center was no exception. The football team’s loss to Ohio State on Saturday will sting for a while, and it was hard for fans to get all that excited about a basketball game against Mount St. Mary’s.
"We knew we were going to have to create our own energy," senior Zak Irvin said.
Irvin scored 14 points, Derrick Walton added 12 and No. 25 Michigan pulled away late in the first half and went on to a 64-47 victory over Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday night.
In front of an announced crowd of only 9,410, the Wolverines went on an 18-2 run in the first half and led the Mountaineers 33-16 at halftime.
Moe Wagner added 13 points for the Wolverines (5-1), who bounced back from a 15-point loss at South Carolina on Wednesday. Junior Robinson led Mount St. Mary’s (1-6) with 21 points, and the 5-foot-5 guard made his first five shots from 3-point range.
The Mountaineers pulled within eight with 4:46 remaining in the game. Irvin responded with a midrange jumper, and the Wolverines were able to close out the game comfortably.
Michigan trailed 12-8 in the first half when Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman made a 3-pointer to start the Wolverines’ big run. A 3-pointer by Walton put Michigan up 16-12, and after 3s by Wagner and Duncan Robinson, it was 26-14.
After going 2 for 26 from 3-point range against South Carolina, the Wolverines were 11 of 27 on Saturday. They also outrebounded Mount St. Mary’s 36-24 in a crisply played game that took only 1 hour, 40 minutes.
Mount St. Mary’s: The Mountaineers are starting their season with nine straight games away from home in a 23-day span. They played Michigan tough for about 10 minutes before going quiet offensively.
"The days kind of run together, but I can’t say enough about these guys’ ability to enjoy the moment and improve on it," coach Jamion Christian said. "I think when we get to March, I think I’ll be saying the same thing about our success. This group knows how to enjoy the moment and lock into it."
Michigan: It’s hard to say what the atmosphere would have been like at this game if Michigan had won the football game earlier in the day, but the Wolverines did a good job taking control near the end of the first half, in front of a crowd that was small and not particularly loud.
BACK ON TRACK
Irvin had an awful game at South Carolina, shooting 2 for 13 and turning the ball over eight times. He was sharp Saturday, scoring his team’s first eight points.
"For Zak to just come out stroking the ball the way he did was important for us, and then he made a huge shot down the stretch," Michigan coach John Beilein said.
Michigan did not attempt a free throw until Xavier Simpson went to the line with 7:41 remaining in the game. The Wolverines finished 5 of 6 on free throws, and Mount St. Mary’s went 5 of 5.
The Wolverines were actually tied for No. 25 with Florida State in this past week’s poll and are in danger of dropping out because of the loss to South Carolina.
Mount St. Mary’s: The Mountaineers have only two more road games to go before their home opener, but the next one should be tough. Mount St. Mary’s is at Arkansas on Monday night.
Michigan: The Wolverines host Virginia Tech on Wednesday night as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.