LeVert's absence no problem for U-M in PSU rout

Posted at 2:17 PM, Jan 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-02 16:41:52-05
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- With or without Caris LeVert, when Michigan shoots 3-pointers like this, not many teams can compete with the Wolverines.
Zak Irvin had 16 points and seven assists, and Michigan had no trouble overcoming LeVert's absence in an impressive 79-56 win over Penn State on Saturday. LeVert, the team's leading scorer, sat out with a lower leg injury, but the Wolverines broke the game open with stellar outside shooting. Michigan went 10 of 15 from 3-point range in the first half.
"I think everyone has to step up," Irvin said. "Caris does a lot for our team. He's one of the best players in the country, and we've all just got to have that mindset, that we've all got to pick up what we do to the next level."
Michigan announced before the game that LeVert wouldn't play. Coach John Beilein said he hoped to know more about the 6-foot-7 senior's status in the coming week. It's a troublesome development for the Wolverines after LeVert was limited to 18 games a season ago because of a left foot injury.
Beilein said LeVert was hurt in the team's win at Illinois on Wednesday.
"We don't know all the specifics," Beilein said. "I don't want to speculate on what we don't know yet. I think in time, we'll know more."
Michigan already lost guard Spike Albrecht for the season. Albrecht is rehabbing from offseason hip surgery.
The Wolverines (12-3, 2-0 Big Ten) finished Saturday's game 14 of 25 from beyond the arc. They have won six straight.
Mark Donnal scored 16 points with eight rebounds for the Wolverines, and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman added 14 points. Aubrey Dawkins scored 13 points for Michigan without missing a shot.
Brandon Taylor led the Nittany Lions (9-6, 0-2) with 18 points.
Penn State led 11-6 early before Michigan went on a 24-4 run. Irvin and Duncan Robinson made three 3-pointers each in the half, and the Wolverines were up 49-28 at halftime.
"Michigan was a buzzsaw today," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "It was almost like LeVert was out and they wanted to show that they could do it."
The Wolverines came into the game shooting 42 percent from beyond that arc, then bested even that impressive rate against the Nittany Lions. Michigan's first 18 points of the game came on 3-pointers, and then Donnal was eventually able to find space inside. Donnal shot 7 of 10 from the field as his teammates repeatedly found him for layups.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions were playing their fifth straight game away from home. Penn State was coming off a 70-64 loss at No. 4 Maryland in which the Nittany Lions led by double digits in the second half.
Michigan: Robinson finished 3 of 8 from the field, with all of his attempts coming from 3-point range. He also had six assists.
After scoring 26 points against Illinois, Donnal started against Penn State for the first time since Nov. 20. The chemistry between him and his teammates continues to grow.
"We're not throwing the ball to Mark Donnal and saying, `Go to work, big fella.' He's playing off leverage," Beilein said. "We're trying to put them in schemes that they're comfortable at seeing him."
Chambers gave credit to Michigan, but he was surprised his team wasn't more competitive.
"We had our best practice ever (Friday)," he said.  "But I think being on the road finally caught up to us."
Penn State hosts Minnesota on Tuesday night.
Michigan plays at No. 14 Purdue on Thursday night.