Michigan took down Houston Baptist (2-6), 82-57, in a snoozer today at the Crisler Center. The Wolverines are now 6-2 with two road wins over KenPom top-70 squads and two losses against Xavier and Connecticut, both in KenPom's top-25.
In the first two minutes of the game, HBU threw a pass in the seats and then dropped a clear rebound out of bounds while Michigan started the game on an 11-0 run. Bizarrely, Duncan Robinson started the game 0-4 from three point range while the Huskies -- the 315th three point shooting team in the nation -- couldn't miss for a stretch, nailing their first four from deep. Because of this, HBU actually pulled within two with 4:34 left in the first half. The small deficit was never anything more then cosmetic, though, as Michigan quickly took back over and the game was never in doubt.
The second half was all Michigan, who played fine defensively (outside of a few lackluster moments from the forwards) and got everything they wanted on offense. This one wasn't indicative of much, due to both opponent quality and the lack of Derrick Walton, Michigan's starting point guard who sat with a bum left ankle. It fortunately seemed like a precautionary decision. Nonetheless, a win is a win.
Just as it's been and was expected to be all season, Caris LeVert led the way with 25 points and eight rebounds. Despite the slow start, Duncan Robinson added 19 including five threes -- just 56%; come on, Duncan. John Beilein continued to work Spike Albrecht (who is coming off offseason surgeries on both hips) in slowly, and Aubrey Dawkins let his athleticism shine in chipping in 16.
Michigan goes to Dallas Tuesday to take on Southern Methodist in what will be a stiff test for the Wolverines. Hopefully they take it with Derrick Walton. Unlike today, he will be needed.