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D.J. Wilson, Mark Donnal provide spark off bench for Michigan in season-opener

D.J. Wilson and Mark Donnal combined for 21 points and 14 rebounds off the bench in Michigan’s 76-58 win over Howard.

NCAA Basketball: Howard at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan took down Howard, 76-58, in the season-opener on Friday with the efforts of D.J. Wilson and Mark Donnal off the bench.

"That's what we needed last year, if you recall," Michigan coach John Beilein told MLive. "Who was going to be (the sixth or seventh man) and really give us something? They really did a good job."

The duo combined for 21 points and 14 rebounds off the bench. Wilson, who is redshirt sophomore, scored all of his nine points in the second half. He logged all eight rebounds in the final 20 minutes of play against Howard. Meanwhile, Donnal grabbed six rebounds throughout the event and scored eight of his 12 points after halftime.

"That's our job off the bench," Donnal said, "that's what we're trying to bring every game is energy and kind of pick up the guys, not have a drop-off when the bench comes on the floor."

Mortiz Wagner, who started over Donnal, scored just eight points in 15 minutes of action.

"Moe can do some really good things and he's working on some things, but (Howard's) quickness getting underneath him bothered him today," Beilein said. "He's a work in progress."

Beilein will divide minutes between Wagner and Donnal depending on the opponent.

"I think who's the best for us to win the game," Beilein said. "It won't be about offense, it won't be about defense, rebounding is huge for us."

Wilson shot 3-for-5 from the field and went 3-for-3 from the charity stripe to earn himself nine points on the scoreboard.

"I'm a lot more comfortable on the floor than I was last year," he said. "I'm letting like the easy points come to me and stuff like that, not forcing anything. As far as rebounding, just going after it because I know that's something that we need. I'm trying my best."

After beating Howard in the regional round game of the 2K Classic, Michigan will move to play IUPUI at noon on Sunday before battling against Marquette on November 17th at Madison Square Garden.