Alabama A&M loses to No. 20 Michigan 87-57

After a two-week layoff for finals, Alabama A&M started

slowly against No. 20 Michigan.

Then, following a decent stretch toward the end of the first

half, the Bulldogs were routed at the beginning of the second.

”That’s a tough matchup for us,” coach Willie Hayes said.

”You are talking about a team with speed, strength and that can

really shoot the ball. I was very happy with our effort in the

first half, and I warned them at halftime that we needed to keep up

the effort. We didn’t do that.”

Evan Smotrycz had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and the Wolverines

beat Alabama A&M 87-57 on Saturday. Trey Burke led Michigan

with 19 points, and Zack Novak and Tim Hardaway Jr. contributed 13

each.

The Wolverines (9-2) shot 55 percent from the field, 63 percent

in the second half.

Casey Canty scored 15 points for the Bulldogs (2-4). Alabama

A&M was playing its first game since Dec. 3.

”We were getting ourselves back into the game at the end of the

first half, but we fell apart in the second half,” guard

Demarquelle Tabb said. ”Everyone just started trying to do their

own thing and get their own shot.”

It was Michigan’s second consecutive game against a Southwestern

Athletic Conference opponent. The Wolverines beat Arkansas-Pine

Bluff 63-50 on Tuesday.

Michigan took an early 13-2 lead on a nice lob from Novak to

Jordan Morgan for a layup. Novak made it 22-9 with a dunk.

The Wolverines led 41-27 at halftime.

Smotrycz went 4 of 5 from the field. He’s 15 of 19 over his last

three games.

”Open shots are just kind of finding me,” Smotrycz said.

”Sometimes the hardest ones to make are the ones where no one’s

even near you, but I’ve been fortunate enough to knock those down –

so knock on wood that hopefully that continues.”

The Wolverines have won four straight since a loss at Virginia

on Nov. 29. They have one more tuneup remaining, at home against

Bradley on Thursday night, before opening Big Ten play against Penn

State on Dec. 29.

Although Michigan was never in danger of losing to UAPB, the

Wolverines allowed a late run in that game and struggled with

turnovers.

Against Alabama A&M, coach John Beilein was able to play his

reserves extensively down the stretch. Freshman Carlton Brundidge,

who had played only 15 minutes all season, had three points and two

rebounds in 13 minutes on Saturday.

The Wolverines shot 7 of 11 from 3-point range in the second

half and were 10 of 22 for the game.

Jeremy Ingram scored 14 points for Alabama A&M. Jeremy

Crutcher added 12 and Brandon Allen contributed 10.

The Bulldogs shot only 32 percent from the field but made nine

3-pointers. They’ll be right back on the court Monday night against

Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

”They weren’t that tough – we beat ourselves today,” Tabb

said. ”We should have had them, but we kept spacing out and losing

track of what we were supposed to be doing. It didn’t help that I

kept getting hurt – I had back spasms in the first half and then I

hurt my ankle in the second half.”