November 27, 2015

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) Michigan coach John Beilein doesn't want his team to rely too heavily on Caris LeVert.

That doesn't mean that having him on the court doesn't sometimes come in handy.

LeVert had six of the Wolverines final 11 points, and 19 for the game as Michigan outlasted Texas 78-72 Friday in the fifth-place game at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Duncan Robinson added 14 points. Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton Jr. each chipped in 13.

''They've got a happy flight home,'' Beilein said. ''There's only two teams coming out of here 2-1. There's one 3-0. So it's us and Gonzaga ... I think we just needed to get some symmetry back.''

Beilein said he was happy to see Irvin, who had back surgery in September, log 28 minutes against the Longhorns. He was also pleased with the way his point guard, Walton, ran the team this week, particularly against the feisty Texas defense.

The Wolverines (4-2) never trailed in the game and were hot from the outside, connecting on 14 3-pointers.

Texas (2-3) got as close as a point in the closing minutes, but LeVert powered Michigan's final run to help close it out.

''I thought this trip was big for us, in terms of on and off the court getting closer,'' Robinson said. ''I think it will bode well for us moving forward.''

Isaiah Taylor had 18 points to lead the Longhorns. Cameron Ridley had 12 points and eight rebounds. Eric Davis Jr. also finished with 12 points, and Javan Felix added 10.

Texas struggled from the free-throw line, connecting on just 8 of 19 attempts.

''We just didn't have a good enough sense of urgency,'' Felix said. ''We did a good job of putting some stops together in the second half, but it wasn't enough.''

Texas slowly ratcheted up its pressure in the second half, eventually forcing some poor Michigan positions.

The Longhorns also started to get some outside shots to fall and drew within 67-66 on Taylor's 3-point play with 4:25 remaining.

The Wolverines settled down and found LeVert for baskets on back-to-back possessions. That was followed by Irvin's 3-pointer to push the lead back up to eight.



Texas: The Longhorns outscored the Wolverines 40-34 in the second half. ... Texas held a 30-28 rebounding edge.

Michigan: The Wolverines took a 12-point lead into halftime. ... Michigan got 27 points from its bench for the game.


Ann Arbor, Michigan and Saturday's Michigan-Ohio State football game may be nearly 1,300 miles away, but football was still on the minds of Wolverines' fans in attendance at Friday night's game. With the game in hand in the final seconds a chant of ''Beat Ohio'' echoed inside Imperial Arena.


Texas coach Shaka Smart said after a season-opener in China and this weeklong stay in the Bahamas, his team may be looking forward to a more normal schedule. ''Yeah, we are. But it doesn't matter if you're on Mars. You've gotta make a decision as a basketball team that the things that go into winning are more important to you than they are to your opponent,'' Smart said. ''We've got a long way to go with that. I do think we've made some strides.''


Texas hosts UT-Arlington on Tuesday.

Michigan visits N.C. State on Tuesday.


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