Michigan destroys UC Riverside, 87-42, behind double-doubles
(AP) Coming off three games in Hawaii and playing its fourth game in seven days, Michigan coach John Beilein warned his team of UC Riverside’s upset potential.
Clearly, his message was heard.
Moritz Wagner had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Charles Matthews added 17 points and 12 assists to help the Wolverines cruise past Riverside 87-42 on Sunday.
Michigan (6-1), which shot 54 percent against the Highlanders and raced to a 41-17 halftime lead, didn’t seem fatigued after going 2-1 at the Maui Invite, a trip capped by the Wolverines’ 68-60 win over VCU.
“It’s definitely tough on the body, but you have to stay mentally tough,” Matthews said. “You have to tap into another level.”
Things only get harder for Michigan, which plays at No. 9 North Carolina on Wednesday in the B1G/ACC Challenge. The Wolverines then face Indiana, Ohio State, UCLA and Texas.
“Now, we go into an incredible stretch that I’ve never seen before, Michigan may have never seen before, especially in December,” Beilein said.
Chance Murray finished with eight points and four rebounds, while Alex Larsson scored seven for Riverside (2-3), which shot 27 percent in the opening half and 30 percent for the game.
“We’re not quite there yet. We’re not quite trusting the format,” Highlanders coach Dennis Cutts said.
The Wolverines used a 15-0 run in the first half to take control. Duncan Robinson’s 3-pointer gave Michigan a 41-12 advantage with three minutes left.
Not slowing down after the break, the Wolverines pushed the lead to 56-21 after consecutive 3-pointers from Wagner and Eli Brooks.
Robinson scored 13 for the Wolverines.
UC Riverside: After starting the season with a surprising 74-66 win at Cal, the Highlanders have dropped three of their past four, including lopsided losses against Western New Mexico and Michigan.
Michigan: Since losing to LSU 77-75 in Hawaii, the Wolverines have recorded sizable victories over Chaminade, 102-64, and UC Riverside. Michigan has a big test coming up against North Carolina.
“It will be fun,” Matthews said of facing the Tar Heels. “We’ll game plan and be ready for them.”
Matthews, who sat out last season after transferring from Kentucky, struggled in the first half in some of the Wolverines’ earlier home games this season. But that wasn’t the case on Sunday, when the Chicago native played a near-flawless 14 minutes.
Matthews had 11 points in the opening half on 4-of-7 shooting from the field, including 1 of 2 from 3-point range, while adding seven assists, three rebounds, two steals and no turnovers before the intermission.
“I’m just trying to simplify my game and coming out with a sense of urgency,” Matthews said. “It’s always fun to get off to a good start.”
UC Riverside: Hosts Pacific on Thursday.
Michigan: At UNC on Wednesday.