Livers, Simpson Lead Michigan Past Creighton 79-69 In Howard's First True Test

Livers lit it up for 22 points, while Simpson and Teske each had 17.

97.1 The Ticket
November 12, 2019 - 9:37 pm

© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (97.1 The Ticket) -- Michigan is off to a 2-0 start in the Juwan Howard era after Isaiah Livers put up 22 points Tuesday night to lead the Wolverines past Creighton 79-69.

Michigan used a strong second-half performance, shooting 60% from the floor (15-for-25) to notch their second win of the year, after beating Appalachian State 79-71 in the season opener.

Livers hit 4-of-7 3-pointers on the night, while senior point guard Zavier Simpson had 17 points and nine assists against a Bluejays team playing without senior guard Davion Mintz and 6-foot-11 center Jacob Epperson.

The Wolverines exploited Creighton's lack of size Tuesday night, using 7-foot-1 center Jon Teske's 17 points and seven rebounds against the Bluejays, who did not have a starter over 6-foot-7, in Epperson's absence.

Despite shooting 7-for-16 from 3-point range in the first half, Michigan trailed 41-38 at the break, but they were able to wear Creighton down in the second stanza, largely in part to Teske's 12 points after halftime and a defensive effort that looked much stronger than the second half of the opener against App. State.

Michigan held Creighton to 28 points on 39% shooting in the second half, a much different look than when it allowed Appalachian State to go on a 27-3 run and nearly erase a 30-point deficit.

Ty-Shon Alexander led the way for the Bluejays (1-1) with 20 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Marcus Zegarowski had 18 points, while Mitch Ballock had 11 on 3-of-8 3-point shooting.

Creighton, representing the first true test for the Howard-coached Wolverines, were picked 7th in the Big East preseason poll, but have been in discussions as a potential NCAA Tournament team if they're able to get healthy. The Bluejays were the first power conference team Michigan played this season and won't see one again until they face Iowa State on Nov. 27 in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.

Michigan's win tied the Gavit Tipoff Games -- the Big East-Big Ten challenge -- at a game apiece, after DePaul thrashed Iowa 93-78 on the Hawkeyes' home floor Monday night. Butler and Minnesota were playing in the late window Tuesday night for the third game of the eight-game challenge.

The Wolverines host Elon on Friday night.