Towson 47, Michigan 64

BY foxsports • November 15, 2011

After about 8 minutes, the question was no longer whether Towson could upset 17th-ranked Michigan.

The Tigers were just trying to make a shot - any shot.

The Wolverines started the game on a 21-0 run and cruised to a 64-47 victory Monday night. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 15 points, and freshman Trey Burke added 13 for Michigan in his first career start.

Robert Nwankwo led Towson (0-2) with 16 points.

''They just didn't let us do anything,'' Nwankwo said. ''They are so long and athletic that they weren't letting us execute anything. We started pressing, but we got going a little after we finally hit something.''

The game was part of the Maui Invitational, although the result wouldn't have affected the tournament's schedule. Michigan is part of a set field of eight teams that will play in Hawaii next week. Towson is one of four teams playing preliminary games against Hawaii-bound teams. Those four teams also will play their own mini-tournament in Tennessee next weekend.

Michigan (2-0) began the season Friday with a 59-33 victory over Division II Ferris State. The Wolverines finished that game on a 21-1 run, and against Towson, they picked up right where they'd left off.

''The problem today was that we have a young team, and we weren't able to recognize what they were doing early, and it was really hurting us,'' said Pat Skerry, who is in his first season as Towson's coach. ''We didn't shoot well, especially at the beginning, but they had a lot to do with that.''

Towson returns only one letter winner and no starters from 2010-11. The Tigers looked increasingly confused on offense in the first half, settling for bad shots and struggling to take care of the ball. A layup by Evan Smotrycz made it 19-0, and Towson called a timeout.

Zack Novak added another layup for Michigan before Erique Gumbs made a shot from the top of the key for the Tigers, ending their scoring drought and earning a sarcastic cheer from the Michigan fans with 10:34 remaining in the half.

Burke made a 3-pointer from the corner just before the halftime buzzer to make it 37-16.

''At the half, we said we were starting over and just cut our pregame goals in half,'' Skerry said. ''We wanted to hold them to three 3s in the second half, and we did, and we wanted to outrebound them in the second half, and we did that as well. We also wanted to stay under six turnovers, but we couldn't do that one.''

Burke was supposed to start the opener but came off the bench instead after being late to a walkthrough. He was in the starting lineup Monday and made a pair of early 3-pointers.

''It's a lesson learned,'' Burke said. ''No excuses. It won't happen again - freshman mistake.''

The 5-foot-11 Burke has the difficult task of replacing NBA draft pick Darius Morris at point guard for Michigan. Morris, who was 5 inches taller than Burke, was a terrific playmaker, but only once in his two seasons with the Wolverines did he make more than two 3-pointers in a game.

Burke made three in the first half Monday.

Towson lost its opener 100-54 to Kansas and was out of this game early, but Nwankwo scored nine points in the first half. Deon Jones scored 12 for the game, and Marcus Damas added 11.

Michigan coach John Beilein put forward Jordan Morgan in the starting lineup after Jon Horford started the opener. Morgan scored six points and Horford had four.

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