Michigan pulls away from North Florida in season opener, 86-66
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Duncan Robinson scored 21 points, and Michigan turned back upset-minded North Florida 86-66 on Saturday night.
Charles Matthews added 20 points for the Wolverines, who actually trailed 47-46 before pulling away in the latter part of the second half. Moe Wagner had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Michigan (1-0), which had to withstand some impressive 3-point shooting by the Ospreys.
North Florida (0-2) was playing its second game in two nights after losing 98-66 at No. 2 Michigan State on Friday.
The Ospreys led 18-11 at the midway point of the first half, and although Michigan was up 32-30 at halftime, it was an uneven performance for the team that won last season’s Big Ten Tournament. The Wolverines had to replace Derrick Walton, Zak Irvin and D.J. Wilson off that team.
Michigan led 52-51 before a 21-2 run highlighted by Robinson’s dunk in transition.
Garrett Sams led North Florida with 17 points. The Ospreys went 9 of 15 from beyond the arc.
The Wolverines are expected to lean on a pair of transfers – Matthews and Jaaron Simmons – but they had their ups and downs. Matthews scored the first two points of the game and kept right on shooting. By halftime, he was 5 of 13 from the field, and he finished 9 of 19. Simmons scored only two points.
North Florida: The Ospreys made a game of it until the last 10 minutes, so fatigue may have been a factor. North Florida had 24 turnovers, which was a real problem against a Michigan team that committed only 10.
Michigan: The final score was a bit deceiving on a night Michigan didn’t look that dominant, but the Wolverines were impressive in breaking the game open late. Matthews settled down and took better shots in the second half, but it will probably take some time before Michigan’s offense flows the way it usually does.
North Florida: No rest for the weary. The Ospreys have one day off before playing again Monday night at Virginia Commonwealth.
Michigan: The Wolverines host Central Michigan on Monday night.