Junior guard Eli Brooks scored a career-high 24 points, and Juwan Howard won his debut as Michigan’s head coach despite a late Appalachian State surge, as the Wolverines posted a 79-71 victory on Tuesday at Ann Arbor, Mich.
Senior center Jon Teske powered for 17 points and 13 rebounds for Michigan, which saw a 30-point lead whittled to four in the late going. Isaiah Livers added 14 points for the Wolverines (1-0).
Howard, one of the members of Michigan’s Fab Five teams in the early 1990s, replaced John Beilein, who was hired as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ head coach.
Junior guard Justin Forrest carried the Mountaineers (0-1) with 25 points.
The Wolverines spoiled the debut of Appalachian State coach Dustin Kerns, who spend the past two seasons as head coach at Presbyterian.
Teske piled up 15 points and 11 rebounds in the first half as the Wolverines raced to a 46-25 lead.
Teske scored the Wolverines’ first 11 points and Brooks soon canned a pair of 3-pointers, giving Michigan a 19-5 lead.
A Colin Castleton put-back nudged the Wolverines’ advantage to 17 before Appalachian State responded with a 9-2 run capped by Isaac Johnson’s 3-pointer.
Livers made a 3-pointer in transition to push Michigan’s edge to 37-21 with 5:11 left in the half.
Brooks’ fastbreak layup with 3:54 remaining gave the Wolverines their first 20-point lead at 41-21.
Brooks made a steal and layup with 15 minutes left in the game to give Michigan its first 30-point advantage at 63-33.
The Mountaineers persevered and went on a 27-3 run to cut the Wolverines’ lead to 70-64. Forrest nailed a pair of 3-pointers and Kendall Lewis converted two layups to cap off the surge.
Livers ended a Michigan scoring drought that lasted more than six minutes with a put-back.
Adrian Delph made a 3-pointer with 38 seconds to go, cutting Michigan’s lead to five. Two free throws by Johnson with 20 seconds left made it 73-69. Brooks then hit four free throws to clinch the Wolverines’ win.
—Field Level Media