November 28, 2014

Michigan is looking to get back on track after coming up short against one of the country's best teams.

A visit from winless Nicholls State shouldn't present nearly as tough a challenge.

The No. 19 Wolverines try to improve to 4-0 at home for the fifth consecutive season when they host the Colonels on Saturday.

Michigan (4-1) outscored its first four opponents by an average of 16.0 points before suffering a 60-55 loss to No. 12 Villanova in the Legends Classic title game Tuesday. Caris LeVert had 16 points and Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton Jr. combined for 21 as the Wolverines were limited to a season-worst 41.1 percent shooting.

"When we were running our offense, running our sets, doing good cuts, setting good screens, it was working," LeVert said. "But there (were) times we weren't cutting hard. We were stagnant a little bit and they're a good defensive team, so they picked up on that."

LeVert failed to get to the foul line after making 21 of 25 free throws in the first four games. Michigan went 3 for 5 as a team and committed a season high-tying 11 turnovers.

"We answered them score for score going down the stretch. We just couldn't get that stop," coach John Beilein said. "All the little things, whether it's foul shooting, turnovers at the end of the first half and start of the second, those run-outs for easy baskets, we couldn't get those back, and there is no defense for it. We'll learn how key they are and how to keep from having those turnovers. ... There is so much room to grow from this particular game."

The Wolverines would appear to have a good chance to regroup at the Crisler Center, where they've won 54 of 55 against unranked opponents - including 28 in a row by an average of 23.5 points.

The Colonels are hoping to avoid their second consecutive 0-4 start after falling 75-48 at Wake Forest on Monday. Nicholls State was outscored by 27 in the first half before matching the Demon Deacons with 28 points over the final 20 minutes.

"I think in the second half we learned a lot," coach J.P. Piper told the team's official website. "Teams like this expose weaknesses and our weakness in the first three games of the season is that we abandon our system too soon. We did that in the first half tonight and paid a price for it.

"Hopefully we're learning. ... We've got to progress and get better and I liked what I saw in the second half."

Liam Thomas had 13 points but was the only player to score in double figures as the Colonels shot 2 of 12 from 3-point range. Amin Torres averaged 14.5 points in the first two games before finishing with four.

Nicholls State was outrebounded 42-21 and outscored 28-10 from the foul line. The Colonels, who have yet to play at home, have dropped 19 of their last 20 road games against non-conference opponents.

Nicholls State has been outscored by an average of 33.7 points in losing 17 straight against Top 25 foes since 1997-98. The Colonels fell 107-74 at No. 22 UCLA last Thursday, though the Bruins weren't ranked in that game.

This is the first-ever meeting between these programs.

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