ANN ARBOR, Mich. — After a physically taxing win over Bowling Green, Cleveland State put up little resistance against No. 5 Michigan.
“We just didn’t play well, and I told them that,” said Cleveland State coach Gary Waters. “We didn’t do anything right in the first half, and that put the game away.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. had 17 points and six rebounds, and Michigan advanced to the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off with a 77-47 victory Tuesday night.
It was the third straight victory by at least 30 points for the Wolverines (3-0), who shot 51 percent against a Cleveland State (2-1) team coming off an overtime win the day before.
Nik Stauskas scored 15 points and Trey Burke added 12 points and seven assists for Michigan, which closed the first half on a 29-5 run to take a 42-14 lead at the break.
“I think there was some intimidation tonight coming into this building and playing Michigan. We really didn’t play well in any facet of the game,” Waters said. “This program has done a lot of great things — we went into Syracuse and won and we’ve gone into other places and won — so there wasn’t an intimidation factor for our program, but this is a very young team. These kids haven’t done this before.”
Anton Grady led the Vikings with 15 points.
The Wolverines shot 25-of-40 from 3-point range in their first two games but went only 9-of-24 Tuesday night.
Michigan is rarely shy about shooting from beyond the arc, but the Wolverines didn’t really need to against the Vikings. They raced out to an 8-0 lead on layups by Burke, Hardaway and Jordan Morgan and then a dunk by Morgan.
Glenn Robinson III missed a dunk on an alley-oop attempt from Burke, and Grady’s layup at the other end made it 10-7, but it didn’t stay close for long.
Burke made another nice pass to Robinson, and this time the freshman converted the dunk for a 19-9 lead. Michigan blew the game open without making another 3-pointer until Hardaway hit one with 57 seconds left in the half.
The second half looked a lot like the Wolverines’ first two games — there wasn’t much drama.
“We’re going to work four days of late-game situations,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “Getting those in these early-season games are always beneficial. We haven’t had any of those.”
Michigan shot 64 percent from the field in the first half.
The Wolverines entered the season with high expectations, largely because of Burke and Hardaway. But the much-hyped freshman class is contributing already, as well. Mitch McGary had one nice sequence in the first half when he brought the ball up along the right sideline in transition, then after the Wolverines scored he hustled back to draw a charge under the basket.
McGary finished with six points and nine rebounds, and fellow freshman Stauskas connected three times from long distance. He’s now 7-for-11 from 3-point range in his young career.
Robinson was coming off an 8-for-9 performance from the field in a win over IUPUI on Monday. The freshman went 2-of-7 against Cleveland State but still finished with nine points and seven rebounds.
Cleveland State advanced to play Michigan after outlasting Bowling Green 79-73 in overtime Monday. Four Vikings played at least 40 minutes in that game, and they never really threatened the Wolverines.
Michigan has won all nine meetings against Cleveland State.