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Published September 12, 2015
Michigan coach John Beilein predicted prior to arriving at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off that the four-day tournament would reveal a lot about his team's talent level.
Through one game, for the most part he likes what he sees.
The 14th-ranked Wolverines knocked down a tournament-record 14 3-pointers and held off a late rally Thursday in an 85-61 victory over Long Beach State.
Nik Stauskas scored 24 points and Caris LeVert had 20 to help Michigan beat the scrappy 49ers.
"We feel he's got going in the last couple of games," Beilein said of Stauskas, who came in averaging a team-high 17 points. "What I like is he's finding open people. I don't think he forced a shot today. ... I like the way he's guarding, the way he's rebounding. A lot of things."
The 49ers came out in a triangle-and-two defensive set and also mixed in some zone to try to keep the Wolverines guessing early.
But Stauskas credited his team's ball movement in the halfcourt for allowing him to get open looks.
"Guys were doing a really good job of getting into the lane, finding me open," he said. "Anytime I get open shots, I hope I can knock them down."
Michigan (3-1) led by 18 in the first half before it was trimmed to nine with less than 10 minutes to play.
But the Wolverines were able to hold on thanks to a steady string of shots from long range. Stauskas and LeVert hit four 3s apiece. Glenn Robinson III had 14 points.
Michigan plays again Friday in the tournament semifinals against Florida State, which routed No. 10 VCU 85-67.
A.J. Spencer and Mike Caffey each had 12 points to lead Long Beach State (1-4), which lost its fourth straight game.
Long Beach State coach Dan Monson said his team had opportunities and played good enough to win in spurts, but couldn't get enough misses from Michigan to get over the hump.
"Just so many weapons offensively. We didn't have an answer to slow them down on that end of the floor," he said.
The Wolverines connected on 14 of 30 attempts from beyond the arc and forced 16 turnovers in their second game since the return of forward Mitch McGary from a back injury. He didn't start, and played sparingly in finishing with six points.
Beilein said the plan was to use McGary only when necessary, but the coach said he is pleased with the contributions he has received so far from other frontcourt players.
"The guys that got those minutes have great endurance," Beilein said. "So I think they'll be fine."
Michigan got a big chunk of its turnovers on deflections in the paint to trigger fast-break opportunities.
Thanks to a big first half they didn't really need much from McGary, though.
Michigan took a 42-29 lead into the locker room at halftime, but had a much bigger cushion at one point.
The Wolverines breezed through the first part of the opening half, knocking down eight 3-pointers to put the 49ers in an 18-point hole.
Long Beach State responded and used a 15-4 spurt to get it down to seven.
Stauskas helped settle things down for Michigan with his own mini-run to end the half, scoring six straight points.
As productive as his team might have looked Thursday, Beilein said it can still play better with more work.
"We're growing in our versatility every day, but's it's nowhere near where we hope it will be going down the stretch," he said.
Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower.