Updated at: 12/29/2012 8:07 PM
(AP) ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Central Michigan coach Keno Davis knew his team was going to have a hard time keeping up with No. 2 Michigan.
After the first nine minutes Saturday night, he was starting to think it was going to be a lot worse than he had expected.
Despite missing Tim Hardaway Jr. with an ankle injury, the Wolverines (13-0) came out red-hot and were up 29-15 before Davis had a chance to catch his breath.
"I think we were a little intimidated at the start of the game, and they must have hit 80 percent of their shots," Central Michigan coach Keno Davis said. "I’m just proud that we held them to 52 percent for the game, because I’ve never seen an offense like that. No matter what you take away from them, they have so many other ways to hurt you."
The Chippewas (7-6) came into the game having won two of their last four meetings with the Wolverines _ in 2002 and 2007 _ but they were quickly overwhelmed by Michigan’s offense. Burke scored 14 points in the first nine minutes, and Michigan led 46-29 at the half en route to an 88-73 win.
"I’m actually very happy with the way we responded to that opening surge," Davis said. "We got down pretty quickly to the number-two team in the country, and we could have just hung our heads and gotten run out of the gym. Instead, we battled back and played them fairly evenly for the last 30 minutes."
Olivier Mbaigoto led Central Michigan with 14 points, and three other players reached double figures. The Chippewas outscored Michigan 44-42 in the second half, shooting 63 percent in the process, but couldn’t overcome the slow start.
"I think they focused early on stopping Nik Stauskas, and they did a good job of that, but that opened things up for Trey Burke, Glenn Robinson III and everyone else," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "That was a good tradeoff for us."
The early lead also helped Beilein relax about his starting lineup, which featured three freshmen for the first time this season.
Robinson, Stauskas and Caris LeVert combined for 48 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. LeVert, who was still a redshirt a month ago, started in place of Hardaway.
"It’s been quite a rise for Caris _ he’s gone from expecting to sit out the season to now moving into the starting lineup," Beilein said. "We didn’t have any other choice with Tim out, but he stepped up and did a very nice job."
Hardaway missed the first game of his career with an ankle injury, and Beilein isn’t sure when he’ll get his junior shooting guard back.
"We’re not exactly sure what is going on, but we were being cautious with the Big Ten schedule coming up," he said. "We don’t play again until Thursday, so we’re going to give him as much rest as possible and then see where he is closer to game time."
With Mitch McGary playing 15 minutes off the bench, the Wolverines often had four freshmen and Burke on the floor, but Beilein didn’t mind. Burke finished with 22 points and 10 assists, while Robinson scored 20 and Stauskas had 19.
"Trey is the most veteran sophomore I’ve ever been around," he said. "He has unbelievable poise for someone who is only a couple months into his sophomore season _ you watch him out there, and it is like we’ve got an old veteran running the offense. That’s important, because he’s out there with a lot of freshman."
Burke said that adding LeVert to the starting lineup wasn’t a problem because of the way the Wolverines practuce.
"Coach is always mixing things up, so we’re not always running with the same five guys out there," he said. "He’ll put the freshmen out there together, so we all know that Caris can play. I’m sure he was a little nervous at the start, but he did a great job."
Michigan is off to the second-best start in school history. The 1985-86 Wolverines team, led by Gary Grant, Roy Tarpley and Glen Rice, started the season 16-0 on its way to a Big Ten championship.
"We’ll take 13-0 in the preseason every year, but now we know that things are going to change with conference play," Beilein said. "The intensity, the players, the coaching _ the Big Ten is the best of the best every night. We’ve been telling the freshmen what to expect, but there’s no way we can prepare them for the Big Ten season until they actually get a chance to play those games."
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)