The No. 2 seed Michigan Wolverines (29-6) disposed of the No. 15 seeded Montana Grizzlies (26-9) by a score of 74-55 in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 64 on Thursday night from Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
Charles Matthews had another strong outing against the Griz just a year after doing the same thing and scoring 20 points in the round of 64 matchup between these two teams last year. He would finish the night with a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Ignas Brazdeikis was second on the team in scoring with 14 points.
Montana, clearly overmatched and playing a small lineup, fell by as much as 17 points early on before clawing back a bit towards the end of the half to get it to a 34-21 deficit heading into the locker room. Matthews led Michigan in scoring going into the break with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Montana was 9-for-33 from the floor in the first half and 1-of-11 from the three-point line.
Turnovers were a bit of a problem for the Wolverines early on, as they had eight in the first half, four of which came uncharacteristically from Zavier Simpson.
The second half saw Montana get it back to within double digits at 34-26 after a 5-0 run run out of the gate, but Jordan Poole hit a three to put the lead back up to 11 and Matthews stretched it back to 13 with a jumper of his own. Michigan would stretch its lead to as much as 26 points in the second half en route to its blowout win, which saw them empty the bench for the third time in the last four postseason games played.
Next up for Michigan in the West Region in Des Moines is the No. 10 seed Florida Gators, who disposed of No. 7 Nevada by a score of 70-61 in the game prior to the Wolverines playing. The tipoff time has yet to be announced.