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November 22, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, November 22, 2013 - 7

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Friday, November 22, 2013 - 7

Stauskas leads
3-point barrage

Sophomore guard Nik Stauskas scored a career-high 24 points to lead all scorers in Michigan's 85-61 victory over Long Beach State on Thursday.ASSOCAITED PRESS
Michigan wins first-round
tilt with Long Beach State

By DANIEL FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
. SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -
After seeing two underdogs,
Northeastern and Charlotte, pre-
vail in the first two games of the
Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Thursday,
the Michigan men's basketball
team wasn't taking anything for
granted against Long Beach State
- a team over which Michigan
was favored by 16.
With a considerably larger fan
base pres-
ent, the LBSU 61
14th-ranked IMICHIGAN 85
Wolverines
struck quick, taking a 7-0 lead.
After winning the tip, freshman
guard Derrick Walton Jr. swished
a three from the corner to open
up the scoring for Michigan. The
same result followed on its next
possession as sophomore forward
Glenn Robinson III hit the bottom
of the netin the team's 85-61 win.
Walton would make another
3-pointer to push Michigan's lead
back to seven after an early push-
back by the 49ers.
Factoring in the letdown of
their loss to Iowa State, this game
was a pick me-up for the Wolver-
ines.
"What happened in Ames, Iowa
was really helpful for tonight,"
said Michigan coach John Beilein.
While the Wolverines (3-1)
made 12 of their first 17 points
from beyond the arc, Long Beach
State (1-4) was having no issue
attacking the basket either.
That seemed to change when
sophomores Mitch McGary and
Spike Albrecht came into the
game with 13:14 left in the first
half. With all five players from last
year's recruiting class on the floor,
Michigan went to work.
The Wolverines ran the floor,
going on a 15-0 run, beginning
with McGary getting an and-one
opportunity, but he would miss
the free throw. Guards Nik Staus-
kas and Caris LeVert followed
with 3-pointers - one looked so
good Albrecht was already trot-
ting back on defense before it
went in.

By DANIEL WASSERMAN
Daily Sports Editor
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -
Mitch McGary was named to
several preseason All-America
teams, and had Glenn Robinson
III declared for the NBA Draft,
he would have been a lottery
pick.
But through four games, it's
looking like neither' McGary
or Robinson will be the Michi-
gan men's basketball team's
go-to scorer. Sophomore guard
Nik Stauskas has exploded as
the Wolverines' top offensive
weapon, and as play-by-play
announcers in almost every
Michigan game like to remind
their audiences, he's more than
just a shooter.
But despite an impressive
knack for finding multiple ways
to score this season, Stauskas
is still at his best when shoot-
ing from distance. And on
Thursday, the sophomore made
the basket look as wide as the
Atlantic Ocean, which is visible
from Coliseo Roberte Clemente.
Stauskas scored a career-high
24 points to lead all scorers in
the Wolverines' 85-61 victory
over Long Beach State.
It was the third time in four
games that the sophomore has
scored 20 or more points, after
eclipsing the mark just twice
last season. Stauskas now leads
the team in scoring with 18.5
points per game.
Playing thousands of miles
away from his hometown of Mis-
sissauga, Ont., Stauskas looked
right at home on the Caribbean
island, shooting a highly pro-
ficient 7-of-10 from the field,
including 4-of-6 from long
range. He was also 6-for-8 from
the free-throw line for the third
time this year - an encouraging
sign for the guard, who has been
able to capitalize on the respect
other teams have been giving
him from long range.
"Our guys did a really good
job of getting into the lane and
finding me when I was open,"
Stauskas said.
But it was an unassisted buck-
et - one the sophomore created
for himself - that put a stop to
a 49er run that had chopped the
Wolverines' lead to nine with
less than nine minutes to play.
Michigan coach John Beilein
termed it a "big, big, big shot" -
calling it the team's first big shot
of the young season.
"It wasn't part of a play. It was
just Nik doing what he does,"
Beilein said.
The coach has stressed all off-
season that his team would need
to replace the production it got
from Trey Burke and Tim Hard-
away Jr. last season, and while
Stauskas admitted that, "it's
kind of tough to replace that,"

Sophomore guard Nik Stauskas has
hecome Michigan's go-to scorer early
in the 2013-14 season.
he has stepped up as the early
front-runner for Michigan's top
option.
Stauskas wasn't the only Wol-
verine who had a field day from
beyond the arc, though. Long
Beach State opened with a tri-
angle-and-two defense, which
freshman point guard Derrick
Walton Jr. and Robinson quickly
turned into back-to-back threes
on Michigan's opening posses-
sions. Sophomore guard Caris
LeVert matched Stauskas's four
3-pointers, and Walton's three
long-range makes helped the
Wolverines set a new tourna-
ment 3-point field-goal record
with 14.
After the team shot just 27.6
percent from deep in a loss to
Iowa State on Sunday, Thurs-
day's 46.2-percent mark was a
welcomed sight for Michigan.
But still, the Wolverines' reli-
ance on 3-pointers - reminis-
cent of Beilein's early years with
the program - could prove wor-
risome when the team goes cold
like it did in Ames, Iowa.
The 30 3-point attempts
against the 49ers were a season
high, though the team shot 47
total 3-pointers in its previous
two games - well above last
year's average of 19.7.
Still, if Stauskas is receiving
the bulk of those looks, Michi-
gan should be in a good place.
The sophomore's touch from
deep - certainly one of the
best in the nation - went cold
throughout most of Big Ten play
last year, but after adding 16
pounds in the offseason, teams
shouldn't be able to easily out-
rhvntalhiman v ln nze

ASSOcIATED PREss
Michigan coach John Beilein and the Michigan basketball team escaped the upsets that shook other first-round favorites.

With solid defense on the other
end, the run spanned nearly four
minutes and saw Michigan extend
its lead to 18.
When the 49ers chipped away
at the Wolverines' lead, cutting
it down to single digits, Michi-
gan kept countering back. LeVert
forced a turnover and converted
an off-balance jumper near the
basket to push the lead back to 10.
Stauskas added a dunk on a back-
door pass from McGary.
Stauskas knocked down anoth-
er triple before halftime to give
Michigan a 13-point lead heading
into the break, as the Wolverines
matched their amount of threes
made against Iowa State (eight),
but on 18 shots, 11 less than was
needed on Sunday.
Stauskas led Michigan in scor-
ing for the second straight game,
tallying16 of his career-high 24 in
the first half on 5-for-7 shooting.
Additionally, LeVert and Robin-
son scored 20 and 14 points each,
respectively.
But, like the second halves of
the tournament's previous two
games, there would be a come-
back. The Wolverines 18-point
lead began to diminish.
"I think that Long Beach State
just wouldn't go away," Beilein
said. "They hit six threes and

were right there. Thank goodness
we shot it even better than that."
After a 3-pointer by freshman
guard Zak Irvin with 13 minutes
remaining in the game, Long
Beach State answered with a 12-3
run to once again cut the lead to
nine.
"You know at this time of the
year, given the experience on both
teams, there's going to be runs,"
Beilein said. "They made a great
run."
It was after a miscalled and
corrected shot clock violation that
Michigan finally ended the run.
With 16 seconds put back on the
clock, Michigan took advantage
of the second chance as Stauskas
nailed his fourth 3-pointer.
"We didn't have much time but
we picked up on the clock mistake
and Nik made a big, big, big shot,"
Beilein said. "That's probably one
of our first big shots of the season
because it was going the other
way quick. That wasn't part of a
play. That was Nik doing what he
does."
With one final chance to go on
a run with less than five minutes
left,the 49ersfaulted as LeVerthit
two dagger 3-pointers to push the
Wolverines' lead to 21 with 2:27
left. Michigan would finish with
14 threes, while shooting53.4 per-

cent from the field.
"We did a really good job in the
second half (in) that last 10 min-
utes stretch of really just pulling
away," Stauskas said.
The Wolverines will be back
in action on Friday night, playing
Florida State, which beat Virginia
Common Wealth, 85-67.
BY THE NUMBERS
Michigan vs. Long Beach State
14
3-paintersfor Michigan,a new Puerto
Rico Tip-Off record.
Points for sophomore guard Nik
Stauskas, a career high,
53.4
Field-goal percentage for Michigan.
Minutes for sophomoreforward Mitch
McGary in his second game backfrom
injury

From Puerto Rico,'Vamos Azul'

By DANIEL FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - It
may have been a smaller group
than what Michigan is used to
when playing at home or on the
road back in the United States
- excluding territories - but the
Michigan cheering section on
Thursday, at the Puerto Rico Tip-
Off, was more than proficient.
Taking up the majority of
the court-level seats behind the
Wolverine and Long Beach State
benches, the group of 200 fans
made its presence known from
before the game began.
It started outside Coliseo
Roberto Clemente at 4 p.m. as
Georgetown and Northeastern
fans exited the building follow-
ing the conclusion of their game.
With the arena closed off due to
a break in action - Thursday's
four games were divided into two

sets of back-to-back games - fans
stood in maize and blue patiently
awaiting the night's game.
As the team took the court at
around five to warm up, the sec-
tion didn't look so full. As Michi-
gan took the locker room for its
pregame speech by coach John
Beilein at 5:30 p.m., the section
started to fill.
By the time the Wolverines
came back out 20 minutes before
tipoff, they were welcomed with a
huge applause. A Puerto Rico flag
in Michigan's colors appeared.
A man with a cowbell started to
begin the traditions of a football
game at Michigan Stadium.
While the crowd couldn't
compare to one at the Big House,
it remained consistent in keep-
ing up a chant of "Go Blue!" and
"Let's go Blue!" throughout the
night.
As the players were intro-
duced, Michigan's starting five

clearly drew louder applause,
increasing in increments as the
next player was announced.
By the time the game started,
a decent amount of fans stood for
the duration.
With some wearing homemade
shirts, some customized ones and
some in maize "Vamos Azul!"
shirts, the section got loud as
Michigan began the game on a
7-0 run.
It only got louder when the
Wolverines went on a 15-0 run
later in the first half.
The only time when Long
Beach State's fans really made
noise was when it cut an 18-point
lead to nine in the second half.
And it could have been louder
too. Michigan fell victim to a shot
clock violation that the 49er fans
erupted in elation to when the
clock hit zero.
But that was reversed when
Michigan sophomore guard Nik

Stauskas hit a 3-pointer to end the
run and noise.
While the game remained in
Michigan's favor from that point
on, it wasn't until two late triples
by sophomore guard Caris LeVert
that the noise approached what
it had been in warmups and the
beginning of the game.
After the game ended and
Beilein had concluded his press
conference, he started to walk
back to Michigan's locker room.
With the lower concourse located
in the bowels of the building, the
possibility of Beilein or any player
or coach interacting with fans -
who were promenading back to
the locker room - existed.
Beilein was approached, but
not by a group of Michigan alum-
ni though. Heck, it wasn't even by
any college-aged students.
It was by a small group of
young boys, maybe 12 years old,
asking for a selfie with the coach.

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