Like countless tourists each year, Michigan junior guard Charles Matthews is enjoying paradise so much, he may never want to leave. The Kentucky transfer looks to continue his hot start Wednesday as the Wolverines face VCU in the fifth-place game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center.
One day after scoring a career-high 28 points in a 77-75 loss to LSU, Matthews recorded 22, 10 rebounds and three blocks in Tuesday’s 102-64 rout of Division II Chaminade. The Chicago native was 8-for-8 from the field while adding four assists and two steals to lead the Wolverines, who shot 65 percent and were 15-for-28 from 3-point range. Mathews will need another strong showing against VCU, which bounced back from a 94-83 loss to Marquette by shooting 50 percent in Tuesday’s 83-69 win over California. Sophomore guard De’Riante Jenkins made five 3-pointers as he finished with a career-high 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Rams, who have forced 35 turnovers in their last two games.
TV: 5 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT VCU (3-2): Sophomore forward Issac Vann, the team’s second-leading scorer at 12.5 points per game, suffered a left ankle sprain in the loss to Marquette and likely will miss his second straight contest on Wednesday. Several players stepped up against Cal in Vann’s absence, including senior forward Justin Tillman (nine points, eight rebounds) and freshman forward Sean Mobley (nine points on three 3-pointers). “Our biggest thing is, we’re so young, we’re inexperienced,” coach Mike Rhoades told reporters. “The more we play, the better we’re going to get. These guys really want to win, but there is a process to it all.”
ABOUT MICHIGAN (4-1): Freshman point guard Eli Brooks made his first career start Tuesday and finished with five points and two assists in 21 minutes, while senior wing Duncan Robinson added 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including four 3-pointers. Guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman chipped in 17 points in the rout as coach John Beilein rested his starters for most of the second half. Beilein continues to be pleased by the play of 6-11 forward Moritz Wagner, who is averaging 17 points and six rebounds over his last two games.
1. The only previous meeting between the teams came on March 23, 2013, when Michigan rolled to a 78-53 victory in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
2. Michigan is 62-3 when scoring at least 80 points under Beilein.
3. VCU is averaging 84.4 points while allowing 77.8 per game.
PREDICTION: Michigan 87, VCU 75