Wolverines roll in Howard's exhibition opener
Written by Matt Pargoff   

Michigan fans got their first glimpse of game action under the new direction of Juwan Howard on Friday evening as the Wolverines played host to Saginaw Valley State in exhibition play, claiming an 82-51 victory.

Getting off to a quick start, U-M built a 12-point advantage in under five minutes of play, built largely on a seven-point run from Isaiah Livers and a five-point stretch from Eli Brooks. Pulling ahead by as many as 14 points in the first half, the Wolverines surrendered a 17-5 run to SVSU in just over a five-minute stretch in the second half.

“We’ve got to do a better job. When we start off like that, we’ve got to continue,” noted Livers. “We can’t just sit back because we punched them in the face. They’re going to throw some punches back, so we’ve got to continue punching.”

Up just two points with two minutes remaining in the half, the Maize and Blue once again found their fight, countering with a 10-0 run heading into the break. Michigan steadily expanded its advantage throughout the second half, cruising to victory.

Perhaps giving a preview of what’s to come, the Wolverines used a starting lineup of Zavier Simpson, Adrian Nunez, Eli Brooks, Isaiah Livers and Jon Teske. The first player off the bench for U-M was true freshman Cole Bajema, followed by David DeJulius and Brandon Johns Jr.

Livers led the way for Michigan with 20 points, while Brooks had 13 and Johns had 12.  

Fans of the Maize and Blue have grown accustomed to seeing lots of three-point shots headed to the rim over the last several years under John Beilein, but it remained to be seen if that trend would continue under new direction. Michigan’s 31 attempts from long range in the exhibition opener would have been the third most attempted in any game last season.

“If you’re open, I want our guys to shoot it,” said Howard. “I don’t want our guys to second guess, or think the game, or play like robots. I just want them to read the game.”

The Wolverines will begin regular season play on Tuesday, playing host to Appalachian State at 7 p.m. eastern on Big Ten Network.


 
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