ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A year ago, Michigan came off a win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and promptly lost an early-December home game to the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Three hundred sixty-four days later, the Wolverines made sure history didn’t repeat itself.
Caris LeVert had 25 points and eight rebounds, Duncan Robinson scored 19, and Michigan beat Houston Baptist 82-57 on Saturday.
“We weren’t mentally ready for that game,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “We had a couple guys banged up and we didn’t respond well. Give NJIT credit — they turned out to be a good team — but we were more ready this year.”
LeVert moved from shooting guard to point guard with normal starter Derrick Walton unable to play with a sprained ankle. LeVert finished with one assist, but that wasn’t a problem.
“This is a tough adjustment for me,” he said. “I’ve played part of one game at point guard in college, and I’m not used to it. I made a couple bad decisions early, and we missed some shots, so we decided to just play my normal game.”
LeVert said that Robinson and Aubrey Dawkins made his new job a lot easier.
“A year ago, Duncan was sitting out his transfer year, and Aubrey has added so much to his game from back then,” he said. “That helps a lot.”
Dawkins added 16 for Michigan. The Wolverines shot 48 percent, including 11 of 23 3-pointers.
Anthony Odunsi led Houston Baptist with 15 points, and Reveal Chukwujekwu scored five with 10 rebounds.
Michigan (6-2) has won four straight after back-to-back losses to Xavier and Connecticut. Houston Baptist (2-6) couldn’t build on its 77-73 upset of Rice on Wednesday.
LeVert’s dunk midway through the first half meant he was outscoring the Huskies 11-8, and the Wolverines led by 13.
Houston Baptist hit back-to-back 3-pointers, pulling to within 26-24 before LeVert ended the run with a 3-pointer. Robinson followed with a dunk and a 3 to restore Michigan’s double-digit lead.
“That shows you the power of the 3-pointer in college basketball,” Beilein said. “They hit a few to narrow the gap, and then we hit a couple to make it a 10-point game again.”
The Wolverines led 37-28 at the half, with LeVert scoring 14 on 5-of-7 shooting. Michigan had an 8-2 edge on second-chance points and a 10-5 advantage on turnovers, but the Huskies stayed close by hitting 4 of 5 3-pointers.
Robinson hit two more 3s early in the second half to quell any Houston Baptist comeback hopes, and the Wolverines pulled away. Beilein was able to rest his top players down the stretch with a game coming up Tuesday in Dallas.
Robinson made his last five 3-pointers after missing his first four.
“Everyone keeps telling me to keep shooting, even if I’m missing,” he said. “Today, even the parking-lot attendant reminded me to keep taking my shot. So I kept going and they finally started drawing.”
Houston Baptist: This was the Huskies’ third visit to Ann Arbor in the last six years, all ending in lopsided losses. Michigan won 77-55 in 2009 and 107-53 in 2013 — a game that included five current Huskies. . Freshman center Isaiah Robinson is the son of former NBA star Clifford Robinson.
Michigan: Duncan Robinson, who started his career going to the Division III title game with Williams College, is believed to be the first player to transfer from D-III to D-I with a full scholarship. . Beilein said that Walton’s status for Tuesday’s game against SMU is still uncertain.
Senior point guard Spike Albrecht played 12 minutes as he continues to recover from off-season hip surgery. Albrecht has come off the bench in seven of Michigan’s eight games, but doesn’t practice on a full-time basis.
“It is just a matter of finding the right balance for him,” Beilein said. “He’ll spend all day in rehab tomorrow, and a couple more hours before we leave on Monday. We’re letting him getting his on-court work in games so that he’ll be prepared when he’s ready to play more minutes.”
Houston Baptist: Hosts Arlington Baptist on Dec. 12.
Michigan: Visits Southern Methodist on Tuesday.