Wed, 06 Dec 2023

Michigan focused on adding to perfect start vs. Long Beach State

Field Level Media
17 Nov 2023, 14:19 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)

Michigan will go for its fourth win in a row when it hosts Long Beach State on Friday night in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Wolverines (3-0) are coming off Monday's 89-73 win against St. John's in New York City. They also have beaten UNC Asheville and Youngstown State.

It has been a seamless start for Michigan interim coach Phil Martelli, who is filling while Juwan Howard recovers from heart surgery.

Martelli has been quick to deflect praise toward his players. After Michigan's latest win, he spoke glowingly about point guard Dug McDaniel, a sophomore who set a career high with 26 points against St. John's.

McDaniel entered the starting lineup abruptly last season after a season-ending injury to Jaelin Llewellyn. This season, he has had the starting job since Day 1.

"Last season, Dug came in and kind of had that freshman look about him," Martelli said. "Jaelin was the starter. He was older, he was more stable. Then all of a sudden in London, Jaelin gets hurt and Dug now has to take on a different role. And it was kind of on the move."

Others are helping to fill the void of other players from last season. Jett Howard and Kobe Bufkin both left for the NBA, and Hunter Dickinson transferred to Kansas, but the Wolverines have benefited from newcomers such as Alabama transfer Nimari Burnett.

Burnett finished with 21 points against St. John's.

Long Beach State (1-2) will make its first trip to Ann Arbor in program history. The Beach are coming off an 88-76 loss at San Diego State on Tuesday.

Marcus Tsohonis leads Long Beach State with 18.7 points per game this season. Aboubacar Traore ranks second with 14 points and averages eight rebounds per game.

Long Beach State coach Dan Monson wants to see better defense after his team surrendered 88 points in its last contest.

"They put us on our heels," Monson said. "The ball was moving faster than we were."

--Field Level Media

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