Freshman Irvin scores 24, No. 22 Michigan rolls
(AP Photo/Tony Ding)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) With leading scorer Nik Stauskas out, No. 22 Michigan was looking for an offensive spark against Coppin State. Freshman Zak Irvin admirably filled the role.
The 6-foot-6 Irvin came off the bench to score a game-high 24 points in a 87-45 win Friday, making 9 of 13 shots from the floor, including 6 of 10 from 3-point range.
"With Nik being out, we needed somebody to step up today and I think our team was able to do that," Irvin said. "My jumpshot was falling today and my teammates were able to find me open."
Michigan coach John Beilein said he was concerned that missing the sharp-shooting Stauskas - who was resting a sore ankle - would leave a big hole against Coppin State's zone defense.
But Irvin hit a pair of long-distance shots early, matching his career-high of 10 points by the time Michigan took a 42-23 halftime lead, and brought the Crisler Center crowd to its feet by connecting on three consecutive 3-point baskets for a 63-31 lead with 13:24 left to play.
"Even though their best shooter wasn't there, I don't think (Irvin) was too far from it," Coppin State coach Ron "Fang" Mitchell said. "That may have been their hidden secret."
In fact, Irvin has been rather hard to find so far this season. He was averaging 7.4 points and made just 37 percent of his 32 attempts from behind the arc this season.
"I wouldn't have been able to do that without my teammates. They kept telling me to keep my head up, stay confident out there and I'll knock down the next one," Irvin said. "It's definitely a relief to finally see some shots go down. Hopefully I can continue to do this as the year goes on."
Beilein said he has encouraged Irvin to keep shooting.
"When I see a guy who's had as many attempts as he's had, he must be a shooter. The coach isn't stupid. He wouldn't allow him to shoot that many times if he couldn't shoot," Beilein said. "I hope I'm not stupid. I see it in practice. I want him to shoot the ball when he's open."
Caris LeVert added 15 points and Glenn Robinson III 14 points for Michigan. Dallas Gary came off the bench to score a team-high 11 points Coppin State (2-3). The Wolverines made 51.6 percent (32-62) of its shots and was 13 of 14 from the free throw line. Coppin State, which has lost to a nationally ranked non-conference opponent in 18 consecutive seasons, made 34.8 percent (16 for 46) of its shots.
Stauskas, averaging 20.3 points, was the Wolverines leading scorer in each of their last four games. He sprained his ankle during a 63-61 loss to Charlotte in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off championship game. His status for Michigan's trip to No. 6 Duke on Tuesday, Dec. 3, is unknown.
"Until he's practicing at 100 percent, he won't go in there. He's got to be pretty close to 100 percent," Beilein said. "It will be a big focus for us to get him ready. He'll be rehabbing like crazy for the next three days."
With Stauskas on the bench, Michigan did welcome a pair of familiar faces back to its starting lineup. Preseason All-America selection Mitch McGary and senior Jordan Morgan made their first starts of the season.
McGary, who has been playing himself into game shape after a back injury kept him out of the team's first two games of the season and much of the preseason, finished with six points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Morgan, who started 95 games in his first three seasons at Michigan, added six points and five rebounds.
Those two post players helped Michigan dominate the glass. The Wolverines pulled down 17 offensive rebounds compared to Coppin State's 14 defensive rebounds. Overall, Michigan held a 44-19 rebounding margin.
Michigan was playing at home for the first time in 17 days following a four-game stretch that included a loss at Iowa State and the runner-up finish in Puerto Rico.
Once the win was assured, Wolverines fans turned their attention to Saturday's football rivalry game between Michigan and No. 3 Ohio State. A "Beat Ohio!" chant started with 3:44 left to play and Michigan leading 78-42.
Updated November 29, 2013