Glen Rice scored 23 points, including five 3-pointers, to lead Michigan, playing without coach Bill Frieder, to a 92-87 victory over Xavier today in the NCAA Southeast Region first round.
No. 10 Michigan, 25-7, plays the winner of the Alabama-South Alabama game Sunday in the second round.
Rice, who took nine 3-point shots, hit his fifth with 3:32 left and put Michigan ahead for good, 84-82.
Frieder quit Wednesday to take the head coaching job at Arizona State and was replaced on the bench by assistant Steve Fisher, who recorded his first victory over the underdog Muscateers, 21-12, who captured the Midwestern Collegiate Conference tourney.
Xavier stayed within a point at 86-85 with 2:03 left on a basket by Jamal Walker before Michigan reeled off a 6-0 run for the victory.
First, it was Terry Mills with a bucket with 1:48 left, then substitute guard Demetrius Calip hit two free throws with 28 seconds remaining and Rumeal Robinson added two more 10 seconds later.
Robinson also had 23 points for the winners while Mills added 18.
Tyrone Hill led Xavier with 21 points, Derek Strong added 18, Walker had 16 and Michael Davenport 15.
Xavier led 45-42 at half time as both teams shot well from the field. Xavier connected on 19 of 34 shots and Michigan 17 of 29.
Xavier never trailed by more than four points and held a 5-point margin twice.