A day after two of the Big Ten’s top teams were upset in stunning fashion -- No. 2 Ohio State to No. 15 Oral Roberts and No. 4 Purdue to No. 13 North Texas -- Michigan didn’t leave any doubt from the tip.
The Wolverines scored the first seven points of the game and never let Texas Southern back within a possession. The lead sat at 18 points by halftime and quickly swelled over 20 early in the second half.
Michigan didn’t play well over the final 15 minutes, but it was able to keep the Tigers at arm’s length, answering every run with timely baskets or free throws. The Tigers never got back within single digits.
Without Isaiah Livers, Michigan got an early lift from freshman guard Zeb Jackson, who came in and drilled a pair of three-pointers. Freshman forward Terrance Williams also played well, especially on the defensive end.
As he did in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, Brandon Johns started for Livers and gave Michigan strong minutes. He scored 11 points while chipping in two rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block.
Mike Smith led Michigan with 18 points. He had four rebounds and five assists.
Hunter Dickinson had 16 points and also chipped in three blocks and two rebounds. He had six turnovers, however.
Franz Wagner only scored nine points, but he was excellent on defense and led the Wolverines with six assists and nine rebounds. Eli Brooks was right behind him with five assists and six rebounds, along with 11 points.
Michael Weathers scored 24 points for Texas Southern on 8-for-18 shooting. The Tigers made the final score look much closer by cashing in on 19 of 22 free throw attempts.
Michigan has a difficult test ahead Monday. LSU cruised back No. 9 St. Bonaventure, 76-61, and has four prolific scoring options.