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February 12, 2014 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Second-half surge,
Walton sparks win

Off the bench, Irvin's
big shot powers 'M'

Wolverines earn first
win in Columbus for
first time since 2003
BySIMON KAUFMAN
Daily Sports Writer
COLUMBUS - During pre-
game festivities at Value City
Arena, fireworksshot off as No.'2
Ohio State men'sbasketballteam's
lineup was announced before it's
game against Michigan's."
The loud, red, blazing streaks
of color lit up the dimmed
arena, and in the beginning of
the first half, the 22nd-ranked
Buckeyes personified the scarlet
pyrotechnics.
Ultimately the scarlet and gray
fireworks faded as the first half
ended, and the 15th-ranked Wol-
verines pushed out (10-2 Big Ten,
18-6 over-
all) to a MICHIGAN 70
70-60 win. OHIO STATE 60
Michigan
knocked down free throws late
in the game to the victory, to give
it its first win in Columbus in 11
years.
The Wolverines trailed early
and often through the first half
but were finally able to chip
away at Ohio State's lead in the
second. Midway through the
second half, freshman guard Zak
Irvin knocked down a 3-pointer,
then sophomore guard Caris
LeVert stole the ball and finished
with a left-handed layup on the
other end.
Two made free throws by
sophomore guard Nik Stauskas
a nossession later. gave the

Wolverine's a 44-43 lead - their
first lead since the 17:51 mark in
the first half
One minute later, freshman
guard Derrick Walton Jr.
penetrated and got a lay up to
fall after drawing contact. He
knocked down a free throw
to finish the and-1 play giving
Michigan a six-point lead and
momentum it would carry to the
end of the game.
"At the beginning of the game
the pace was kinda frantic," Wal-
ton said. "It kinda slowed down
in the second half I just did a good
job of trying to pick my spots."
The Buckeyes (6-6, 19-6)
dominated the beginning of the
contest, though. Four minutes
in, Ohio State guard Aaron Craft
lobbed a pass to forward Sam
Thompson for an electrifying
alley-oop dunk. Thirty-three
seconds later, after a missed
3-pointer Stauskas, Ohio State
replayed its previous possession,
this time with forward Ross
throwing down a dunk after
gettingsetup.
The Buckeyes pushed their
lead to as many as 10 in the
first half, but Michigan cut the
lead to just four by the time the
team headed to the locker room,
thanks in part to an ensemble
cast that stepped up at the end of
the half.
The Wolverines helped their
cause with big play on the boards
outrebounding Ohio State, 39-27.
Fifth-year senior Jordan Morgan
collected eight rebounds - six on
the offensive side, leading to sec-
ond-chance points for Michigan.
On defense, the Wolverines
focused on eliminating Craft

from the flow of the game. The
senior finished with just eight
points, and Ross did the bulk of
the scoring - finishing with a
game-high 24 points.
"(We tried to) keep Craft the
heck out of there," Beilein said.
"Just get him over there and let
the other four guys play us."
The effort from Ross down
low wasn't enough though -
Ohio State relies on its shoot-
ing to win games. The Buckeyes
came into the game shooting 35.3
percent from beyond the arc,
Tuesday night they went 3-for-20
from deep.
But it was Walton who
knocked down each of his three
foul shots after being fouled
behind the arc in the second half
that pushed Michigan's lead to
10, forcing the Buckeyes to foul.
"If you watched (Walton)
earlier in the season, when he
was coming off screens or doing
anything, his shoulders were
pointed sideways all the time,"
Beilein said. "Now his shoulders
are pointed at the basket, and
he's getting low and he's getting
down hill. It's huge for him to be
able to go north south."
Walton finished with a double-
double, adding 10 rebounds to
his 12 points. Michigan coach
John Beilein said the point
guard became more comfortable
taking over on the court, both by
attacking the basket and vocally
directing the offense.
Michigan went 8-of-8 from
the line in the final minute and
a half to ice the game on its way
to its first win against a ranked
Ohio State team in Columbus in
program history.

By DANIEL WASSERMAN
Daily Sports Editor
COLUMBUS - At the
13:41 mark of the second half,
Michigan coach John Beilein
was in desperate need of inspired
play, and it certainly wasn't
comingfrom Glenn RobinsonIII.
Trailing 41-35, the sophomore
forward was just 2-of-9 from
the floor, with most of those
misses coming from ill-advised
jumpers, point-blank misses or
blocked layups. With Robinson's
confidence slipping by the second
in a hostile environment, Beilein
pulled the veteran sophomore for
a freshman.
And Zak Irvin didn't let
the headman down. Over the
next 7:20, with Robinson look-
ing on from the bench, Irvin
appeared in the scorebook
only once, but it was a big
one. His 3-pointer with just
less than 12 minutes remain-
ing narrowed the 15th-ranked
Wolverines' deficit to three.
And by the time he checked
out at the 6:21 mark, Michigan
had a 51-50 lead.
"Obviously that was a big
shot," said fifth-year senior
forward Jordan Morgan. "But
just the energy that he brings to
everyone on the court - it picks
the whole team up."
Irvin's 10 points in 20 minutes
proved more monumental than
it showed on the boxscore as
the Wolverines beat No. 22 Ohio
State, 70-60 - their first win in
Columbus since 2003.
Make no mistake, Irvin's play
wasn't perfect. His matchup

on the defensive end, forward
LaQuinton Ross, scored a
game-high 24 points, and while
many of those baskets can't be
pinned on Irvin, the freshman
did surrender multiple easy
layups.
But it was his play - a breath
of fresh air from a team that was
lacking a real sparkplug - that
seemingly saved Michigan from
losing a game that, given the
way Ohio State played, had no
business losing.
The second-half boost wasn't
the first time Irvin's play was the
difference maker.
"He's done that for us for this
whole stretch of the Big Ten,"
Morgan said.
Tuesday night was the
guard's third consecutive
game scoring in double fig-
ures, coming on the heels of a
19-point performance at Iowa
and a 16-point first half against
Nebraska last week. In early
January, he dropped 15 points
at Minnesota while the teams
key scorers struggled. And even
in low-scoring nights, such as a
three-point affair at Michigan
State, his lone 3-pointer came a
much-needed time.
In fact, it wasn't even the flst
time that he came up huge on
Tuesday night. Seven mindtes
into the contest, the Buckeyes had
turned a 5-5 tie into a 13-5 lead
thanks to an array of highlight-
reel dunks. Parting like the red
sea and failing to hustle back in
transition, Michigan's defensive
lapses had Value City Arena
rocking. Shades of Saturday's loss
to the Hawkeyes flashed through

the building, as it looked like
Ohio State had delivered an early
knockout blow.
Just like the first half,
Irvin replaced a struggling
Robinson in the first half. On
his first offensive possession
of the game, he knocked down
a 3-pointer. It's difficult to
gauge the full magnitude of
a make with so much time to
play, but it was enough to keep
the Wolverines in the game,
where they stayed - despite
a horrendous 32.1-percent
shooting mark in the first half
- until Irvin's second-half
stint.
"He's been a typical freshman
in some ways, but the young man
can make a shot," Beilein said.
"He can just make a shot. He
comes in he just finds the bottom
of the basket ... He just makes
shots."
The freshman's efficient night
in the hostile setting - 2-for-3
from the field and 4-of-5 from
the charity stripe - displayed a
poise matched only by a fellow
freshman, point guard Derrick
Walton Jr., who commanded the
offense to the tune of 13 points, 10
rebounds and six assists in place
of sophomore Spike Albrecht.
And if Robinson's struggles
continue - the sophomore shot
3-for-10 while failing to score in
double figures for the fifth time
in six games - Irvin may find
himself on the floor for more long
stretches of time.
And unlike Walton, if Irvin
keeps shooting like he has, it
would hardly be a simple long-
term project.

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