Everything came easy, as it should have.
The Michigan men’s basketball team removed any potential suspense early from their exhibition game against Wayne State, using an 18-5 run late in the first half to coast to an uneventful but expected 73-54 victory at Crisler Arena.
Leading the way was junior guard Manny Harris, who netted 25 points in 29 minutes. Harris, who sat out of a couple practices last week to nurse an injured hamstring, shot eight-of-14 and earned eight free throws. The Detroit native looked sharp moving without the ball, and Wayne State’s perimeter defenders had trouble all night reacting to Harris’s quick first step.
Outside of Harris, sophomore guard Zach Novak proved to be the Wolverines only other consistent scoring option. The Chesterton, Ind. native dropped 15 points on five-of-eight shooting, all spot-up shots from three-point land. Michigan coach John Beilein said it was Novak’s best shooting performance this week, including practices.
The Wolverines starting lineup featured a four-guard lineup of Harris, Novak, freshman Darius Morris and redshirt sophomore Laval Lucas-Perry. Senior Deshawn Sims started at center. The unit looked very smooth in transition and played excellent perimeter defense, often shading towards Wayne State ballhandlers and trapping them in the half-court. The aggressive game-plan helped produce 15 Warrior turnovers and held Wayne State to just 36.7-percent shooting.
Though the small lineup looked smooth against an overmatched Warrior team, much of the Maize Rage’s attention centered around the return of redshirt freshman center Ben Cronin, who made his first game appearance since undergoing season-ending hip surgery last season. The seven-footer played quick spurts of just over three minutes Friday night, netting four points, three rebounds and two blocked shots. Cronin played fairly aggressive around the rim and had little trouble fighting for position against Wayne State’s undersized frontcourt, much to the delight of the student section.