On a night where senior forward DeShawn Sims celebrated his 500th career rebound, it makes sense that the teams focused on the boards.

But not in the way the Michigan men’s basketball team would have liked.

During Friday’s win over Houston Baptist, the Wolverines were outrebounded by the Huskies 52-39.

That 13-rebound difference jumps off the stat sheet — and should be a concern — but Michigan felt that it wasn’t exactly a perfect representation of its play.

In fact, players and coach John Beilein attributed the disparity to Houston Baptist power forward Mario Flaherty, who leads his team in rebounding. Flaherty alone accounted for 13 boards, nine offensive and four defensive.

“We were going in aggressively to rebound,” Sims said. “Balls didn’t tip our way, and (Flaherty) and some of the other guys got in there, and they did a great job of crashing offensive boards.
“Credit to them, but we had our hands on a lot of those rebounds. It wasn’t a lot of clear offensive rebounds.”

Even though they weren’t easy rebounds, they still showed up on the scoreboard. The Huskies took advantage of the glass throughout Friday’s game, particularly in the first 13 minutes, when they built and maintained a lead over the Wolverines.

“They’re more athletic than they look, and they did a number on us a few times on the boards,” Beilein said.

Beilein said it’s good for his players to face a team that features a scrappy scorer like Flaherty. Beilein seemed almost excited to watch film and find the areas his team needs to improve — in rebounding, of course, but also transition defense.

“We’ll see more when I see the tape,” Beilein said after Friday’s game. “They’re really good at learning from the film when they see it.”

Cold streak: Michigan started Friday’s game just about as ice-cold as a team could be — especially from an area of the court it normally counts on.

Through the first 14 minutes of the contest, the Wolverines shot a measly 1-of-11 from behind the 3-point line.

“Sometimes we over-penetrated and didn’t hit the obvious play,” Beilein said. “It happens. People sometimes are looking for a great play. What’s a greater play? There’s an easier one right in front of you.”

Michigan didn’t force attempts at “great” plays in its exhibition game or season opener against Northern Michigan. In fact, the Wolverines made plays that almost looked too easy. Performances like freshman Matt Vogrich’s 5-of-5 from beyond the arc against Northern Michigan felt far different than that miserable start.

Though the players tried to articulate what led to their cold stretch, it was difficult to pinpoint the problem. Junior Manny Harris simply called it “frustrating.”

“We just were a little shaky on offense,” sophomore Zack Novak said. “We weren’t exactly executing like we know how to. We just took shots out of rhythm.”

Cronin update: With 2:11 remaining in regulation, redshirt freshman Ben Cronin entered the game. With Michigan nursing a 22-point lead at the time, it wasn’t a crucial point in the game.

But it’s part of an important step in Cronin’s recovery from last year’s hip surgery.

Last week, Beilein hinted that Cronin wouldn’t see playing time for a while, and it seemed unlikely after the season opener where he sported a taped-up wrist.

“I was ready if he put me in, but I don’t really have any expectations right now except to work and get healthier, start moving a little better,” Cronin said.

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