ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Mitch McGary pulled down a rebound and began dribbling, his teammates calmly finding their spots on the floor while the 6-foot-10 big man showed off his point guard skills.
After a brief pause, McGary kept right on going, all the way to the basket for a three-point play. “Any time he gets a rebound, and he’s just going by himself, we’re OK with that,” Michigan guard Nik Stauskas said. “I don’t think anyone wants to step in front of him.”
McGary had 12 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and No. 22 Michigan overwhelmed Houston Baptist 107-53 on Saturday, reaching its highest point total in over 15 years. Stauskas scored 17 of his 25 points in the first half, when the Wolverines were nearly flawless on the offensive end.
Michigan (6-3) bounced back quickly from a loss at Duke. The Wolverines led 60-34 at halftime after shooting 68 percent from the field — 10 of 16 from 3-point range — and committing only one turnover.
The Wolverines ended up tying a school record for 3-pointers with 16.
Glenn Robinson III scored 17 points for Michigan, which picked Houston Baptist’s zone apart and punished the Huskies (3-6) in transition. Michigan had not scored this many points since a 112-64 win over Indiana on Feb. 22, 1998.
Rob Lewis and Ricmonds Vilde scored 10 points each for Houston Baptist.
“We came in and played quite a bit of zone in the first half and Stauskas was shooting right over the top of our shorter wings,” Houston Baptist coach Ron Cottrell said. “So we went to man and I think it was more effective for us to make them run their man offense.”
About the only anxious moment for Michigan came with 16:44 left in the game, when McGary took a hard fall near the basket and appeared to hurt his right leg. But he was able to get up and made a point of running hard to the bench when a replacement entered the game. When he got back to the sideline, McGary began waving his arms and the crowd responded.
He was back in the game less than two minutes later.
“Mitch would be unique,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “We’ve got to embrace his strengths, while we just clean up things that are really important to helping us be a good team.”
McGary went from one end of the court to the other for his three-point play with 9:04 to go. Moments later, he pulled off a similar effort, but this time McGary found Stauskas in the corner for a 3-pointer and an 89-43 lead.
“I’d like to keep doing it as long as I don’t turn the ball over,” McGary said. “You don’t really see guys doing it my size, but it’s just what comes natural.”
It’s been an uneven start to the season for the Wolverines, who lost guards Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the NBA. In Tuesday’s 79-69 loss to Duke, Stauskas was held to four points and attempted only two shots from the field.
“Obviously the Duke game, it was a struggle for all of us, pretty much,” Stauskas said. “To get back out here and hit some shots and get a win, that definitely helps with our confidence.”
Against Houston Baptist, Michigan had no trouble finding open shots. McGary led the fast break a couple times early in the game, making a nice pass to Stauskas for a dunk on one transition opportunity.
The Huskies shot terrifically early, but it was no use with Michigan scoring seemingly at will. At one point, Houston Baptist was 9 of 12 from the field and 3 of 4 from 3-point range — but still trailed by 10. Stauskas and Robinson made back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 29-19, and another 3 by Stauskas made it 43-23.
Robinson, who has had a quiet season so far, dunked just before the buzzer to stretch Michigan’s lead to 26 at halftime. It was a remarkable margin considering Houston Baptist was shooting 67 percent from the field and had gone 4 of 6 from 3-point range.