ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- From the start, there was no mistaking Central Michigan's defensive intentions.
The Chippewas' tenacious, in-your-face style forced 23 turnovers and took Michigan's young, struggling offense out of rhythm. Central Michigan then turned to a balanced scoring attack paced by Giordan Watson's 22 points to register a 78-67 win over the Wolverines on Saturday at Crisler Arena.
The win was Central Michigan's first over Michigan since 2002.
Aggressive defense "is what we do," Central Michigan coach Ernie Zeigler said. "Have we been doing it all nine games? No. But that is definitely a staple of what I was trying to establish when I got this job."
Central Michigan (4-5) led by double figures for most of the second half, led by an offense that included three scorers in double figures. Nate Minnoy and Jeremy Allen both contributed 11 points.
Kelvin Grady, who scored 11 points to go along with DeShawn Sims' team-high 17, brought Michigan (4-7) to within 69-61 with 2:58 remaining before the Chippewas hit eight of nine free throws.
Central Michigan's defense kept Michigan from ever establishing itself from the perimeter, from where the Wolverines attempted only eight 3-pointers -- usually a staple of first-year coach John Beilein's offense.
"They just took all those types of looks away from us -- they did a great job defensively," Beilein said. "We realized it was going to be a hard, pressured defense, but we have to keep working on making pretty simple plays."
Despite its turnover troubles, Michigan got within 44-42 after Sims hit a 3-pointer with 13:52 remaining. But the Chippewas scored 12 of the next 13, finishing the game by hitting 51.7 percent of their shots.
The Wolverines also got 12 from Manny Harris.
Central Michigan led 38-29 at halftime, forcing 14 turnovers and taking advantage of a nearly eight minute stretch of the first half when Michigan failed to score. Sims scored 12 early for Michigan, which led 18-15 before its scoring drought.
A Harris steal and dunk finally ended the scoreless stretch with 3:45 remaining in the half, bringing the Wolverines to within 23-20. But Central Michigan finished the half on a 15-9 run, laying the foundation for a strong second half when the Chippewas continued to dictate the game's tempo.
"It's just all about us battling and us being tough and taking pride in doing the little things," Zeigler said.