ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Zavier Simpson had 17 points and nine assists, and Michigan passed its first significant test under new coach Juwan Howard, beating Creighton 79-69 on Tuesday night.
Isaiah Livers scored 22 points for the Wolverines, who shot well early on and showed enough grit late to outlast the Bluejays. Creighton (1-1) had 18 offensive rebounds to Michigan’s four, but that wasn’t enough on a night when the Wolverines (2-0) shot 57% from the field.
Michigan was 7 of 16 from 3-point range in the first half but still trailed 41-38 after 20 minutes. Then the Wolverines, who relied heavily on their defense the past couple seasons, held Creighton to 28 points in the second.
Livers put the Wolverines up 60-52 with an alley-oop dunk, and a driving layup by Simpson made it 64-55.
Jon Teske, Michigan’s 7-foot-1 center, gave the Bluejays problems with his size at both ends of the court. He had 17 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals, and Michigan eventually found him for enough easy baskets to keep Creighton at bay.
Ty-Shon Alexander led Creighton with 20 points, and Marcus Zegarowski added 18. Mitch Ballock scored the first eight points of the game for the Bluejays but finished with only 11.
Creighton: The Bluejays did not have a starter over 6-foot-7, so it’s no surprise that Teske was a problem. They were quick enough to come up with all those offensive rebounds, but ultimately enjoyed just a 13-4 advantage in second-chance points, which wasn’t enough.
Michigan: Simpson and Livers were particularly sharp on this night, and Michigan was impressive on defense while not fouling. Creighton did not make a free throw and attempted only two in the game.
Creighton: The Bluejays host Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
Michigan: The Wolverines host Elon on Friday night.