ANN ARBOR - Michigan started slow in the first half before a big surge to in the second helped the basketball team improve to 8-2 on the season with a 64-44 win over the visiting North Carolina Central Eagles on Tuesday night at Crisler Arena.
Up just 23-19 at the half, Michigan surged out of the second stanza with a 10-3 run over the first five minutes to give Michigan a 33-22 lead. Darius Morris scored four of his 12 points during the run, plus Evan Smotrycz and Zack Novak scored early in the half.
NCC matched the Wolverines offense through the middle of the half until the Wolverines surged ahead on a Stu Douglass three-pointer and a Morris lay-up with 7:19 left in the contest. Morris' layup gave Michigan a 49-31 lead.
Minutes later the lead stretched to over 20 points on a Tim Hardaway Jr. three-pointer. With 4:18 remaining Hardaway Jr. hit from deep again to balloon the lead to 26 points at 59-33.
Over the final minutes North Carolina Central closed the gap.
In the first half the Wolverines struggled to pull away from the visitors never building lead bigger than four points. Landon Clement scored eight of NCC's 19 first half points including a pair of three-pointers. Clement finished with a game-high 15 points for NCC.
Morris, who entered the contest third in the nation in assists, finished with a team high 12 points for the Wolverines along with three assists. Hardaway Jr. and Smotrycz finished in double figures for Michigan as well with 11 and 10 points. Jordan Morgan added nine points and nine rebounds.
The Wolverines return to action on Saturday at Crisler Arena to meet Oakland University. Tip-off is scheduled for Noon.
Michigan Beats North Carolina Central 64-44
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