ANN ARBOR - Darius Morris and Evan Smotrycz led the Michigan basketball team offensively with 18 and 12 points respectively as the team opened the season with a 68-59 win over Saginaw Valley State on Friday night at Crisler Arena.
Michigan shot just 3-for-21 from behind the three-point arc in the win, but despite the cold shooting effort the game was never in doubt. Michigan jumped on top 20-5 in the opening minutes behind a balanced attack that saw five different players score.
Saginaw Valley State was led by 16 points from Greg Foster, plus got 11 and 10 points from Patrick O'Brien and Chris Webb. SVSU shot 8-for-29 from behind the arc, but was never able to overcome Michigan's early lead.
In Michigan's 13-3 run over the games first 3:15 the Maize and Blue opened with eight consecutive makes. Zack Novak opened the scoring with a jumper on Michigan's first possession. Smotrycz then hit five straight free throws to give Michigan a 7-3 lead. Tim Hardaway Jr. added a three-pointer before a Smotrycz triple pushed it to 13-3. Jordan Morgan also got on the scoreboard as Michigan pushed the lead to 20-5 at the 11:58 mark.
Saginaw Valley State trimmed it to 32-24 at the games intermission as Michigan struggled with just 12 points over the final 11 minutes of the half.
Over the first 10 minutes of the second half the teams exchanged buckets until Michigan finally surged back to a 48-32 lead with 10:27 left. Up 39-32, Michigan surged with a 9-0 run over a two minute outburst to extend the lead. Darius Morris hit four free throws during the run, plus Matt Vogich made his lone triple of the game.
Saginaw Valley State trimmed the lead back to eight points over the final minutes of the game, but U-M coasted in the final minutes.
The Wolverines open the regular season on Saturday Sept. 13th at 7 p.m. Michigan hosts South Carolina Upstate in the opener.
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