ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan’s first audition was a success Monday night as the Wolverines new big three of Caris LeVert, Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton Jr. led the way in a 86-43 win over Wayne State at Crisler Center.
A Preseason All-Big Ten selection, LeVert was the high man in the scoring column finishing with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, also recording five assists to lead the team.
Irvin was off the floor all night looking to show off his new vertical leap, catching an alley-oop in transition and finishing with a couple one handed dunks that got the crowd into it. Irvin scored 15-points and grabbed five rebounds, shooting just 1-of-4 from behind the three-point line.
Briefly exiting the game early in the second half with an apparent left leg injury, Walton Jr. would comeback out of the locker room scoring 11-points with four rebounds but no assists. Walton Jr. also knocked down 6-of-7 free throw attempts.
Donnal opened up the scoring for the Wolverines with a nice lefty finish inside off a pick and roll from LeVert. With early fouls to Walton Jr. and Irvin, John Beilein was quick to go to his bench inserting Spike Albrecht and Aubrey Dawkins.
The Wolverines raced out to a 12-4 advantage on the Warriors thanks to a steal and transition dunk by Irvin, a LeVert jumper and an acrobatic finish by Chatman with his left hand.
With a nice little pick and roll game, LeVert found a wide open Wilson streaking to the rim, promptly burying the basketball with two hands to excite the crowd.
Michigan would head into the half up 40-24 led by nine points a piece out of Irvin and LeVert, both shooting 4-of-6 from the field to start the game. In that first half, the Wolverines shot just 3-for-11 (27-percent) from three-point range.
The second half saw the Wolverines begin slower than they had to start the game.
After a free throw a piece out of Donnal and Walton Jr., Michigan’s first field goal of the half didn’t come until Max Bielfeldt entered the game, quickly recording a right handed put back at the 15:38 mark to spark a run.
Chatman found LeVert for a midrange jumper as LeVert returned the favor on the next defensive possession, collecting the rebound and perfectly leading a streaking Irvin for yet another one handed slam in transition.
A Bielfeldt block then led to a transition try for Walton Jr. who attacked the rim hard and slammed into the ground even harder, converting a layup and the foul but slow to get up.
Walton Jr. would leave the game but return minutes later with what would later be deemed a cramp.
From there, Michigan would coast to the victory.
Spike Albrecht coming up with a swipe defensively heading the other way, the junior dropped a behind the back pass to LeVert who emphatically finished to give the Wolverines a 53-26 advantage.
After sending his first two three-point attempts well over the rim, Chatman put in his third attempt from downtown on another assist from Albrecht.
Chatman finished his night with nine points, six rebounds and four assists in 25 minutes of action.
Wilson went on to score five points over a minute span including a layup and a corner three, again after missing his first two attempts from beyond the arc.
Aubrey Dawkins then got into the act knocking down two three-point attempts from the same spot right in front of the Michigan bench.
But the biggest story of the night was the insertion of freshman Austin Hatch with 1:40 to go in the game.
The Crisler Center fans immediately acknowledged Hatch when he approached the scorer’s table and were imploring him to shoot the ball offensively.
True to form for Hatch, he wasn’t willing to just jack up a bad shot. After picking up a foul defensively, Hatch was once again given the basketball and fouled with 12 seconds to go in the game.
With Michigan in the double bonus, Hatch would have two tries to make a free throw.
Missing the first attempt, Hatch calmly swished the second one to the crowd’s delight, being fully embraced by his teammates and immediately subbed out of the game to get a standing ovation and a hug on the floor from John Beilein.