Michigan's Defensive Force Awakens in Win over Illinois

Jan. 21, 2017

What You Need to Know
» Michigan took a double-digit lead in the final three minutes of the first half and never looked back, leading by as much as 21 with six minutes to go.
» With today's win, Michigan avenged an 85-69 loss at Illinois 10 days ago and has now won 11 of the last 13 meetings with the Illini.
» Derrick Walton. Jr. posted his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while D.J. Wilson added 19 points and seven rebounds, and Zak Irvin also recorded double-digits with 15 points.
» Michigan's defense held Illinois to its second-lowest scoring performance of the season -- 45 percent from the field and 17 percent from three-point range.

Box Score | Photo Gallery 
Postgame Report video icon
Beilein Postgame Press Conference video icon

Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)
Score: Michigan 66, Illinois 57
Records: U-M (13-7, 3-4 B1G), ILL (12-8, 2-5 B1G)
Next U-M Event: Thursday, Jan. 26 -- vs. Indiana (Crisler Center), 9 p.m. [ TV: ESPN2 ]

• Kornacki Postgame Feature: Donlon Explains 'Street Fight' Message after Beating Illini

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- In the second meeting between the Wolverines and Illini in 10 days, the University of Michigan men's basketball team avenged a recent loss in Champaign, defeating Illinois, 66-57, on Saturday (Jan. 21) on Star Wars Day inside Crisler Center. U-M has won 11 of the last 13 games against Illinois.

Men's Basketball vs. Illinois

Michigan's defense held Illinois to its second-lowest scoring performance of the season, which included the Illini shooting 45 percent from the field and 17 percent from three-point range.

D.J. Wilson paced the Wolverines with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Derrick Walton Jr. posted his first double-double of the season and sixth of his career with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Zak Irvin added 15 points and two steals for the Maize and Blue. Malcolm Hill was Illinois' only player in double figures with 16 points.

The Wolverines and Illini traded baskets for the first five minutes, and the game was tied four times during that stretch. With U-M trailing 10-9, the Maize and Blue went on an 8-0 run, with a three and a monster put-back dunk from Wilson and another triple from Duncan Robinson, to take a 17-10 lead and force Illinois to take a timeout at 11:26.

After a four minute scoring drought for both teams, Wilson had two more offensive put-backs, including an old-fashioned three-point play, and Michigan led 22-13 with six minutes left in the first half. Illinois answered back with five straight points to cut the deficit to four points, 22-18, but Michigan came right back with seven unanswered points to take its first double-digit lead of the afternoon, 29-18, at the 2:25 mark. The Wolverines maintained a 10-point edge at the half, leading 34-24 as they headed into the locker room.

Illinois scored the first points of the second half, and then Michigan erupted on an 11-0 run, which included six points from Walton, and the Wolverines took a 19-point advantage with 15:31 left in the game. Another Michigan three-pointer from Moritz Wagner led to an Illinois timeout at the 13:29 mark.

Michigan maintained a 19-point lead at the third media timeout (7:20). After the timeout, a bucket by Irvin gave the Wolverines their largest lead of the game, 60-39, and then Illinois scored seven straight points to cut Michigan's lead to 14, 60-46.

It became a free throw battle down the stretch as both teams got six points from the charity stripe in the final two-and-a-half minutes.

Overall, Michigan outrebounded Illinois 30-27, and got 14 of its 66 points off offensive rebounds. The Wolverines also forced 17 Illini turnovers that led to 22 points on the offensive end for U-M.

The Wolverines will remain at home for their next contest, welcoming Indiana to Ann Arbor on Thursday (Jan. 26) for a 9 p.m. matchup inside Crisler Center. The game will be televised live on ESPN2. [ Tickets ]

Postgame Audio

Communications Contact: Tom Wywrot

»  Learn about Michigan men's basketball season tickets for the 2017-18 season.