Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - The South Carolina State Bulldogs face a daunting task, as they take on the seventh-ranked Michigan Wolverines on Tuesday night.
South Carolina State is 1-1 on the young season, the team bowing to Marshall in the opener (85-69) before slipping past visiting St. Andrews two days later (59-55 OT). The Bulldogs went just 6-24 last season, which included a 2-14 ledger in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play, and they have four starters back in the fold.
It took some time to get going, but Michigan blew out Division I newcomer UMass Lowell in its season opener last Friday, 69-42. The Wolverines excelled in 2012-13, winning 31 games and coming up just short of the promised land when they lost to Louisville, 82-76, in the NCAA Championship Game. Despite some key personnel losses from that club, Michigan has the talent and depth to be considered one of the favorites in the Big Ten Conference this season.
This bout marks the first meeting between SC State and Michigan in men's basketball.
Matthew Hezekiah scored 17 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead the Bulldogs to their overtime victory over St. Andrews on Sunday. It was the second straight solid performance by the senior forward, as he was the only SC State player to reach double figures (19 points) in the season-opening loss to Marshall. Adama Adams drained three 3-pointers en route to 16 points, and he dished out five of the team's 16 assists against the Knights. As a team, the Bulldogs shot 44.9 percent from the field, which actually trailed St. Andrews' effort (.488), but the NAIA squad committed 25 turnovers, leading to 22 points for SCSU. The Bulldogs were rather careless with the basketball as well, turning it over 17 times, with six each credited to Adams and Daryll Palmer.
Michigan got off to an extremely slow start in its season opener against UMass Lowell, shooting a mere 26.1 percent from the field in the first half. Fortunately, the overmatched River Hawks weren't much better at just 33.3 percent. and the Wolverines were able to blow past the visitors by outscoring them 46-19 after intermission. Caris Lavert poured in a game-high 17 points while coming up with five rebounds, leading three Wolverines in double figures. Glenn Robinson III added 15 points and Zak Irvin came off the bench to chip in 10 for Michigan, which claimed a resounding 24-10 edge in points from the foul line. The Wolverines turned the ball over only seven times, compared to 15 for UML, and they won the battle on the boards as well, 39-33.