LeVert-less Wolverines cruise to 79-56 victory over Penn State

Without another senior captain available, Michigan was able to dispatch Penn State 79-56.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Right before the Penn State game started, Michigan announced that it would be without senior captain Caris LeVert  due to a leg injury.

No LeVert? No problem.

Lead by excellent first half three-point shooting once again, U-M (12-3, 2-0 Big Ten) was able to dispose of the Nittany Lions (9-6, 0-2 Big Ten) 79-56. Despite the wide margin, PSU certainly made it difficult early on for the Wolverines.

The Nittany Lions stretched a 7-0 lead early on in the first half thanks to sloppy play and an early benching of both center Mark Donnal (fouls) and point guard Derrick Walton Jr (turnovers). After Walton was benched, the Wolverines went on a 22-4 run and never looked back. The first 15 points scored by U-M were all three pointers and the Wolverines finished the half shooting a stellar 66% mark from beyond the arc.

Both Zak Irvin, who tied Donnal for a team-high in scoring with 16 points, and Duncan Robinson lead the charge in the first half shooting 3-for-4 and 3-for-5 from the three-point line respectively.

The Wolverines didn't need to do anything special in the second half as it stayed the course and stuck to the gameplan on its way to another decisive victory. Muhammad-Ali Abdur Rahkman, who was inserted in the starting lineup in place of the injured LeVert, also provided a necessary spark to the Wolverines play on the court by adding 14 points and two rebounds.

"One of my thoughts before the game when asked before the Illinois game was how we responded on the road and how we were resilient on the road," Beilein said. "We had to face more adversity with Caris' injury and they responded again. That tells me a lot about this team. You can only handle so many different things but, boy, they came out with energy, togetherness and we had a heck of a first half. That sort of carried us."

Donnal, who had a big game against Illinois, decided an encore was in order. Finishing the game with 16 points, 7 rebounds and shooting 7-for-8 from the field. Two games into the Big Ten season, Donnal has turned into the big man presence U-M has needed for quite some time.

The Wolverines finished the game shooting just under 60% from the field and 56% from the three-point line while holding the Nittanly Lions to 35% shooting from the field and 22% from the three-point line.

U-M will head to Purdue for its next game on Thursday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m.

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