So far so good for Michigan basketball on their exhibition tour in Italy, improving to a perfect 3-0 with a 116-52 thrashing of Petrarca Padova on a rainy Wednesday afternoon.
For the third straight game sophomore Zak Irvin led Michigan in scoring pumping in 22-points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field. Irvin knocked down 2-of-6 attempts from deep, finding other ways to score the basketball for his team.
"My teammates told me, if my shot wasn't falling, to get to the basket and that's one thing I didn't do a lot last year,” Irvin said. “It's one of the big things I wanted to work on for this year."
Padova quickly raced out to a 7-2 lead to start the game, actually managing to keep things close as Michigan led 30-21 after one quarter of play.
In the second quarter Michigan opened the game up and never looked back, outscoring Padova 33-15 during that frame.
In the second half things only got worse as Michigan held Padova to just eight points in both the third and fourth quarter.
"Our defense exceeded what I thought we could do today,” Michigan coach John Beilein said afterward. “We started slow, but as the game went on they were very good at their dribble-drive attack.
“We made it difficult for them to get the ball in the paint and then they had to rely on three-point shooting and we guarded that as well. The defense then became our offense."
Freshman Aubrey Dawkins was a spark plug off the bench in the first half leading Michigan on a 15-4 run surging to a 28-17 lead. Dawkins finished in double figures yet again with 14-points and six rebounds, knocking down both attempts from three-point land.
"I think I have been getting a little more comfortable every game, and a little more of my natural game came out today,” Dawkins said. “I played within the offense, so things came to me and I capitalized.”
Ricky Doyle’s double double was the story in Tuesday’s win for Michigan. Wednesday, Mark Donnal took the reins at the center position scoring 20-points and grabbing 11 rebounds, shooting 80-percent from the field. Doyle came close to a second straight double double with nine points and eight rebounds.
"We continue to show Mark and Ricky (Doyle) film so that they can get better. I really don't care what each one does; I care what they do collectively.
“Tonight was 29 points and almost 20 rebounds between the two of them. It would be too much to think about getting 20 and 20 from them, but if we needed to get double-figures, that's a heck of a big man."
"It was definitely a good game for me coming off of yesterday's game,” Donnal added. “Yesterday I was in foul trouble, so this got my confidence up a little bit and I was pretty happy with my performance. My teammates found me open and I got some easy buckets."
Junior Caris LeVert brought balance for Michigan scoring 14-points making 3-of-4 attempts from downtown, also grabbing eight rebounds, dishing four assists with zero turnovers and a steal and block a piece.
Freshman Kameron Chatman, who made his third consecutive start at the stretch four, struggled a bit with his shot hitting just 3-of-10 attempts to finish with seven points. Chatman also accounted for four assists, three steals and no turnovers.
Prior to the contest, the Michigan team and coaching staff visited a U.S. Military base, just one of the neat off the court adventures the Wolverines have been privy to during their time in Italy.
"These young men have seen some special things on this trip, and they all really enjoyed today,” Beilein said. “To be with the troops, feed them and sit with them and then go see some of their weapons and trucks, tanks and Humvees; the team loved that.
“We were on our feet a lot today. It has been about six straight days spent on our feet and they responded, so I'm happy about their whole attitude. They're enjoying it and embracing the culture that we're exposing them to. At the same time, they're coming to play."