Matthews leads Michigan past winless Alabama A&M, 97-47

Alabama A&M forward Andre Kennedy (11) reaches in to block a shot by Michigan forward Austin Davis during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Charles Matthews believes he finally has the Michigan offense down pat, and it’s looking like that is going to be bad news for opponents.

Matthews scored 22 of his season-high 31 points in the first half and Michigan routed Alabama A&M 97-47 on Thursday night.

”I think he’s starting to understand how it all fits together,” Michigan coach John Beilein said.

Extending their winning streak to a season-high four games, the Wolverines (11-3) also got 18 points from Duncan Robinson and 14 from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman.

Senior guard Marcus Merriweather led winless Alabama A&M (0-12) with 16 points and Andre Kennedy added 10 points and seven rebounds. The Bulldogs surrendered more than 90 points in a game for the fifth time this season, and have lost each game by an average of 24.1 points.

”We competed for the first 10 minutes and then their talent and their will just took over,” Bulldogs coach Donnie Marsh said.

Matthews scored Michigan’s first seven points as the Wolverines built a 51-23 halftime advantage and never trailed.

”He came out and set the tone with those first seven,” Robinson said. ”That was big. I’m always going to be in his ear to continue to push him to be like that.”

Matthews transferred to Michigan after playing his freshman season at Kentucky, forcing him to sit out last season and work with Michigan’s scout team. He utilized that down time to work with Beilein and Michigan assistant coach DeAndre Haynes on his offensive game.

”They’ve been teaching me different moves, different ways to get my shot off,” Matthews said. ”It’s really helping me become a more effective scorer.”

BIG PICTURE

Alabama A&M: Senior guard Julian Walters, a transfer from East Tennessee State who was activated at the end of first semester in time for the Bulldogs’ Dec. 13 game against Southern Mississippi, was held to four points after averaging 14 points per game in his first two games. … The Bulldogs have played 10 of their 12 games on the road.

Michigan: Junior forward Moritz Wagner missed his second straight game and is listed day-to-day with a right ankle sprain. … Senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman’s assist to turnover ratio of 5.25 ranks second in the nation. … The Wolverines won their only previous meeting with the Bulldogs, 87-57 on Dec. 17, 2011.

STAYING WITH IT

Taking their second straight lopsided decision, Michigan coach John Beilein was much happier with his team’s performance than in their 90-58 win over Detroit-Mercy on Saturday.

”We saw it in the second half against Detroit,” Beilein said. ”We played them even in the second half. But it’s so natural, it’s going to happen all the time. It’s a way of life.

”When you get up and you know you’re going to win the game, it’s hard. I didn’t think we did that today.”

BATTLE WEARY

”Our theme is bring the fight,” Alabama A&M coach Donnie Marsh said. ”That’s what we want to do. The bottom line for us is it’s about preparing for (Southwestern Athletic) conference play.

”The gauntlet that we’ve been through, if we’re not ready for at Grambling and at Jackson State, then this would have been for naught.”

UP NEXT

Alabama A&M: The Bulldogs travel to Georgetown on Saturday.

Michigan: The Wolverines host Jacksonville on Dec. 30 before opening Big Ten Conference play at Iowa on Jan. 2.