The No. 3 Michigan Wolverines (29-7) took care of business in the first round on Thursday, beating the No. 14 Montana Grizzlies (26-8) 61-47.
Charles Matthews led the team with 20 points and 11 rebounds all of which were on defense.
Michigan hadn’t played a game since March 4, when they beat Purdue to win their second straight Big Ten Tournament championship. In the first few minutes, it sure looked like it, as the team collected two fouls and committed three turnovers while falling behind 10-0.
Coming into the contest, Michigan only turned the ball over nine times a game, the second best mark in the NCAA. In this contest alone, they had 14.
They began to claw their way back and with 3:59 left in the half, the maize and blue finally got their first lead of the game thanks to a three-pointer from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, hist first points of the game.
The Wolverines kept that momentum going for the rest of the half. That coupled with a shooting cold-spell by Montana was enough for Michigan to take a 31-28 lead into halftime.
The second half didn’t seem to move very quickly. Neither team could get much going on offense and there was even a shot clock malfunction that held the game up for several minutes. However, the Wolverines were able to get their defense going and held the Grizzlies to just one field goal in the first ten minutes of the half.
Montana would get things going again on offense with eight minutes left, but the Wolverines were just too strong to overcome.
The Wolverines now move on to the Round of 32, where they’ll face the No. 6 Houston Cougars at a time to be determined on Saturday.