ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - It was a night of firsts for Michigan’s John Beilein.
Duncan Robinson scored 10 of his 18 points during the first half when the Wolverines were sluggish in a 68-57 win over Rutgers on Wednesday night.
For the only time in 1,100-plus games as a coach, Beilein said he lost his scouting report and saw a player pass the ball to an official after the first free throw was missed in a 1-and-1 situation.
Beilein said he wanted to review some scouting tips before the game, as he always does, but simply couldn’t find the four-to-five page document.
“That was a bad start,” he said.
It was a bad ending for the Scarlett Knights, who wasted an opportunity to potentially make the final minute very interesting.
Michigan’s Zak Irvin missed the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity at the line, and Rutgers’ Greg Lewis got the rebound and obliviously tossed the ball to an official out of bounds.
“That would’ve been a first as well,” Beilein said. “That was a fortunate play for us. I knew it was a 1-and-1 because I looked up. It was an eight-point game. That was a tough break for them.”
Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan refused to make a big deal out of the unusual play with 45 seconds left.
“I guess Greg thought he heard, ‘two shots,’ and he handed the ball to the official,” Jordan said. “That’s one little snafu in a 40-minute game. They’re college kids.”
Michigan (16-5, 6-2 Big Ten) has three straight victories.
“We’re fortunate we got the win,” said Derrick Walton, who scored 14 points.
Wolverines reserve Aubrey Dawkins scored 11 points, Mark Donnal had 10 points while Irvin added eight points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.
The Scarlet Knights (6-15, 0-8) are winless in the conference.
Rutgers had only single-digit scorers until midway through the second half when Corey Sanders dunked to pull his team within five points. Mike Williams scored 17 and Sanders finished with 15 points.
The Wolverines were sluggish early, getting held scoreless for three-plus minutes and falling behind 6-0.
The Scarlet Knights were ahead until there was 5:27 left in the first half when Dawkins tied the game with a 3-pointer. That started a 15-2 run that gave Michigan its first double-digit lead, and it was ahead 34-27 at halftime.
The Wolverines made just 36 percent of their shots in the first half, but scored 14 points off Rutgers’ nine turnovers over the first 20 minutes. The Scarlet Knights, meanwhile, connected on half of their shots and went scoreless off Michigan’s four turnovers.
Michigan didn’t have much trouble maintaining its lead in the second half, though it couldn’t put the game completely out of reach.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights have been relatively competitive in consecutive games. They didn’t let Michigan coast to a lopsided victory after losing to then-No. 9 Iowa by 14 points. Before those two games, Rutgers was routed by an average of nearly 31 points over a five-game stretch.
“We can take a lot of positives out of our last couple of games,” Coach Eddie Jordan said. “There has been a lot of growth from our young players. Every game and every film session, we get more and more positive clips.”
Michigan: The Wolverines will have a much different experience during their next two home games. Against Rutgers, a couple of upper-deck sections were completely empty after tipoff and the opponent didn’t seem to inspire Michigan to start strong. The Wolverines will host Indiana and Michigan State next week, when every seat will be filled and they visitors will provide plenty of motivation for each game.
Coach John Beilein said his team played as if it was a “trap” and “let-down game,” because Rutgers is winless in the Big Ten. “Those things are all part of it,” he acknowledged.
Rutgers is at No. 12 Michigan State on Sunday.
Michigan plays Penn State on Saturday in New York.
AP college basketball website: collegebasketball.ap.org
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