ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — For a second straight game, Nik Stauskas was held to only a few shot attempts from the field.
This time, Michigan didn’t need much scoring from its standout sophomore.
“I’m never going to be a player that forces shots,” Stauskas said. “If my teammates are open, I’m going to find them.”
Freshman Zak Irvin scored all 16 of his points in the first half, and No. 10 Michigan breezed to a 79-50 victory over Nebraska on Wednesday night. Stauskas, the Wolverines’ leading scorer, took only three shots from the field, but he finished with nine points, eight assists and five rebounds.
The Wolverines (17-5, 9-1 Big Ten) were coming off their first conference defeat, a 63-52 loss at Indiana on Sunday. They nearly matched that scoring total with a 49-point first half against the Cornhuskers (11-10, 3-6).
“Everything in the world went in,” Nebraska’s Terran Petteway said. “It was just one of those nights.”
Glenn Robinson III led Michigan with 23 points, and Caris LeVert added 16 points with five assists and seven rebounds.
Shavon Shields scored 13 points for Nebraska.
Stauskas took only six shots against Indiana. That led to some concern about whether the Wolverines could adjust to defenses geared to stop the 6-foot-6 sophomore. He took even fewer shots Wednesday, but this time there were plenty of other contributors for Michigan.
The Wolverines were nearly flawless offensively for the first 30 minutes. They shot 62.5 percent from the field in the first half, going 9 of 17 from 3-point range. Michigan finished 14 of 14 on free throws.
Michigan finished 13 of 31 from 3-point range despite a late dry spell from beyond the arc.
Nebraska nearly knocked off Michigan last month, losing 71-70. The Cornhuskers had won three of four coming into Wednesday, but they were overwhelmed from the opening tip in the rematch against Michigan. Robinson opened the scoring with a dunk off an alley-oop pass, and after two 3-pointers by LeVert, it was 8-0.
“As soon as Michigan came out and made their barrage of 3s, it felt like we tried to match them,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. “You can’t match Michigan. You’ve just got to endure the punishment they’re going to give you for that time. Hopefully it subsides.”
Robinson threw down a one-handed dunk off a pass from Stauskas to make it 32-15 — then Irvin took center stage. The 6-6 freshman, who has an odd-looking release on his high-arcing shot, scored nine straight points — all on 3-pointers — to make it 43-15.
“His delivery is a little unique,” said Michigan coach John Beilein, who turned 61 on Wednesday. “You don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s been going in at 40 percent, so I just close my mouth and say, `Keep shooting.”‘
Irvin, who was averaging 6.5 points entering the game, seemed to grow more excited with each shot he made. The last one looked short, but it nicked off the front of the rim, bounced up and dropped straight through.
“It knew it was going to be my night when that happened,” Irvin said. “I definitely didn’t see that ball going in.”
It was 49-21 at halftime, and Michigan led by as many as 41 points in the second half. It was 75-34 with 10:34 to play.
“Who knows what would have happened if they would have scored the last 10 minutes of the game?” Miles cracked. “We were very fortunate.”
The Wolverines are in the middle of a five-games-in-13-days stretch, but they were able to ease through the second half in this one. Next up for Michigan: road games against No. 17 Iowa and Ohio State.
Petteway was held to five points, and Ray Gallegos scored only three for Nebraska.
“I’m really pleased with the way we came out with incredible focus on defense in this game,” Beilein said. “We came in so focused, and they didn’t get many good looks. Nik Stauskas did a tremendous job on Petteway.”