ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Charles Matthews scored 20 points and Ignas Brazdeikis added 19 as No. 19 Michigan held off Holy Cross 56-37 on Saturday night.
Brazdeikis, a freshman from Mono, Ontario, scored 15 points in the first 4:49 of the second half as part of a 32-8 run that gave Michigan a commanding lead.
Reserve forward Connor Niego scored 13 points for Holy Cross (1-1), all on 5-of-5 shooting in the first half, including 3 for 3 on 3-pointers. He did not score in the second half, missing two shots.
Jacob Grandison scored 12 points for the Crusaders, who led by as many as nine points in the first half and six at halftime.
The Wolverines shot just 3 of 19 (15.8 percent) on 3-pointers. However, they had a big edge on free throws, shooting 17 of 21 (80.9 percent), while Holy Cross was 1 for 3.
Isaiah Livers had seven points and 10 rebounds for Michigan. Zavier Simpson had seven assists, but did not score, shooting 0 for 3.
Six players scored for Michigan.
Holy Cross: The Crusaders look to be a team ready to improve on their sixth-place finish in the Patriot League last season.
Michigan: With shooting the big question mark coming into the season, Michigan didn’t silence doubts early, shooting 5 for 24 (20.8 percent) in the first half, including 2 of 11 (18.2 percent) on 3-pointers. It didn’t get much better later, but the Michigan defense overwhelmed Holy Cross into 13 second-half turnovers.
Holy Cross plays at Providence on Tuesday. The Friars, of the Big East, have made the NCAA Tournament five straight seasons, a program record.
Michigan plays at No. 9 Villanova on Wednesday in the rematch of the NCAA championship, a 79-62 Villanova win.