Site: Poggio Rusco (PalaPoggioRusco)
Score: Michigan 96, Montrova Stings 76
Next U-M Event: Exhibition Tour Complete
POGGIO RUSCO, Italy -- Paced behind double-doubles from sophomore Zak Irvin (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern HS) and freshman Ricky Doyle (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS), the University of Michigan men's basketball team closed its 2014 Italy Tour with a 4-0 record after a closing with 96-76 win today (Friday, Aug. 22) over the Montova Stings at the PalaPoggioRusco.
For the fourth straight game, Irvin led the Wolverines as he closed with 16 points and 10 rebounds, finishing 7-for-11 from the field. Doyle chipped in with 10 points and 10 rebounds as he posted his second double-double of the tour. Junior Caris LeVert (Pickerington, Ohio/Central HS) also guided U-M to the victory with 15 points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals in the finale.
In addition, sophomore Derrick Walton Jr. (Detroit, Mich./Chandler Park Academy) added 14 points, five rebounds and three assists, while freshmen Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (Allentown, Pa./Catholic Central HS) and Aubrey Dawkins (Palo Alto, Calif./New Hampton Prep [N.H.]) each netted 10 apiece.
In their toughest test of the tour, the Wolverines closed the first quarter with a 25-14 lead. Mantova closed the gap in the second as the Stings balanced inside-outside scoring trimmed U-M's lead to 48-43 at halftime. After getting as close as one point, 65-64 midway through the third quarter, Michigan responded with the play of Walton and LeVert. U-M went on a 31-12 run down the stretch to finish with a 20-point victory. Michigan outscored the Stings 23-10 in the final quarter.
The Wolverines have now completed their four-game exhibition tour of Italy. U-M will travel to Como, Italy, for a final day of touring before heading back to Michigan. The Maize and Blue will then have a week off before the semester begins after the Labor Day holiday.
N O T E S
Today's game was played under FIBA rules with a 24-second shot clock and four 10-minute quarters.
Austin Hatch played in the final minutes of all four games during the tour. He did not score.
Zak Irvin led U-M during the tour averaging 20.8 points and 7.3 rebounds. He shot 68.8 percent from the field (33-for-48) and 66.7 from long range (12-for-18).
Caris LeVert averaged 14.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.0 steals during exhibition play.
Ricky Doyle finished the Italy Tour averaging 11.5 points and 8.0 rebounds.
Michigan averaged 101.0 points per game and closed shooting 55.4 percent from the field.
Michigan allowed just 14.8 points in first quarter and 11.3 in the fourth quarter.
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
On what can be gained from today's game in comparison to the previous three contests ... "Every game has helped us in different ways. These games are not about the score, but experiencing playing basketball with a team like we have right now. As we went through the games, we saw new things that we have to learn. Today we played a very experienced team; they had a plan. They haven't been practicing a lot, but the things that they ran are a part of European basketball everywhere. They picked us apart at times, however we scored some points, too."
On whether or not the team got what he wanted them to get out of the Italian Tour ... "Without question. The number one thing is that we got extra days of practice and we also got to play these four games. Close to that in importance is the relationship-building we were able to do on this trip. From player-to-player, player-to-coach and coach-to-player, that was really tremendous. Now let's all get home safely, and this will have been a tremendous trip."
U-M Sophomore Spike Albrecht
On the experience as a whole, from a basketball perspective ... "It was a great experience for everyone and a lot of fun. I was happy with the way the guys came over here and played and the unselfishness that I saw, especially from the freshmen; they were unbelievable. They had a really strong showing over here."
On the way the team responded to a tight second-half score in today's game ... "That was one thing I was looking forward to seeing. When things went a little south, how would we respond? We did a great job refocusing and bringing lots of energy. Our depth was great tonight; we had guys stepping up off the bench and we really played well."
On the experience from a team bonding perspective ... "It was unbelievable -- a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We got to see things most of us have never seen in our life and may never get to see again, so to be out here because someone else was willing to pay for it is special. We can't thank them enough for the opportunity. It means a lot to every one of us."
U-M Junior Caris LeVert
On the takeaways from this four-game tour ... "It was a great experience coming out here, especially for the freshmen to get comfortable with our offense and our defense and go out there in a game setting and do what we've been practicing."
On the resilience the team showed in the second half of today's game ... "They were up in the second half, so we had to turn up the defensive intensity. We knocked down some shots in the third and fourth quarters, so that was big for us. Off the bench, Muhammad really played well when I was in foul trouble, so that was huge for us."
On the experience from a team bonding perspective ... "Only a couple of guys had been over here -- I think Mark and Derrick, so for us to come overseas and play basketball and be with each other like this was a great bonding experience. We went to some great places like the Vatican and the Colosseum, so it was a blessing to be able to come over here."
U-M Sophomore Derrick Walton Jr.
On how he felt about his performance in today's contest ... "The key for me was just being aggressive and knowing that the team needed me tonight. I came out and hit shots I'd be expected to hit during the season, so the early start was important."
On the four-game tour as a whole and what it has done for the team ... "Mostly it built confidence. For the freshmen, being able to come out and play with us to get a couple of games under their belt gives us team chemistry."
On how the team will benefit down the line from this set of games ... "In the Big Ten, no game is going to be a 20-point game like we had here. It's all getting us ready for the one-possession, two-possession games. As far as getting out and jumping on teams, we've done that in the past, and it doesn't happen often but when you're playing like we have it can always be a possibility."
On the experience from a team bonding perspective ... "It's brought the team a lot closer together. We have a lot of young guys that we've only seen for a couple months, so being able to room with them, talk with them and learn about their personal lives, it brings us closer together on the court. It makes for better continuity out on the floor."
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423