- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - After 10 minutes, Michigan had already made five 3-pointers, and when halftime arrived, the number was up to nine.

By the time the game ended, the Wolverines had set a school record from beyond the arc. Two of them, in fact.

“We knew they were going to play a matchup 2-3 zone going into the game, so we knew we were going to have a lot of opportunities to have open 3s,” Michigan’s Zak Irvin said. “That’s what we’re known for - kind of a zone buster-type team.”

Irvin scored 16 points, and Michigan made a school-record 19 3-pointers in a 97-53 rout of Central Arkansas on Tuesday night. The Wolverines also set a school record with 45 attempts from 3-point range, easily handling that zone.

Michigan (8-3) even made its first 11 field goal attempts from inside the arc - its first miss from there didn’t come until early in the second half.

Jordan Howard scored 14 points for Central Arkansas (1-9). The Bears have played only one home game all season.

“I didn’t think that we came out with the focus and energy,” Central Arkansas coach Russ Pennell said. “This is our Super Bowl. If you can’t get excited playing at a place like this and against this type of competition, you don’t need to be playing Division I basketball. So we’re trying to change a culture, and sometimes you’ve got to get your backside kicked pretty good in order to get their attention.”

Moe Wagner had 18 points and seven rebounds for Michigan. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 14 points and Duncan Robinson added 12. Irvin, Abdur-Rahkman and Robinson made four 3-pointers each.

The Wolverines broke the school record of 17 3-pointers in a game when Ibi Watson connected from the left wing with 3:58 to play. By then, Michigan had gone deep into its bench.

The previous school record for 3-pointers came against Bryant on Dec. 23, 2015, and the record for attempts was 42, set Dec. 22, 2008 against Florida Gulf Coast.


Central Arkansas: The Bears have played a tough schedule, and games like this are about trying to show improvement. In that sense, it may have been beneficial for Central Arkansas to test its zone against Michigan’s sharp shooters - but that matchup didn’t make for a particularly competitive game.

Michigan: The Wolverines were coming off a 102-84 loss at UCLA. They did as they pleased offensively against Central Arkansas with little resistance from the Bears, and Michigan can be fairly happy with its defense in the first half, when the Wolverines allowed only 20 points.


Michigan coach John Beilein often goes out of his way to compliment opponents. That was a tough sell after his team routed Central Arkansas so easily, but he pointed out that the Bears took Arkansas-Little Rock down to the wire. Also, their loss at Butler earlier this month was reasonably competitive until the last 10 minutes.

“We caught them at the right time,” Beilein said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who can make shots from the outside, so a zone sometimes can be a tough defense to play against us, and our kids really played well.”


Beilein was also happy about how his team played coming off the long trip back from the game at UCLA on Saturday.

“We’re in exams, too,” Beilein said. “We had three papers due today.”


Central Arkansas: The Bears return home to face in-state rival Arkansas State on Friday night.

Michigan: The Wolverines continue an easier stretch of their schedule with a home game against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Saturday.


More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 .


Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

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