Walton Leads Michigan Past Minnesota into Big Ten Final

March 11, 2017

» Derrick Walton Jr. scored a career-high 29 points, including 19 in the second half, and recorded a game-high nine assists.
» Michigan advances to the Big Ten Tournament final for the first time since 2014 and the third time in program history.
» Derrick Walton Jr. scored or assisted on 18 of Michigan's final 20 points.
» Michigan made 14-of-19 from the field (73.7 percent) to start the contest as it built a lead as large as 16 in the first half.

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Site: Washington, D.C. (Verizon Center)
Event: Big Ten Tournament (Semifinals)
Score: Michigan 84, Minnesota 77
Records: U-M (23-11), MINN (24-9)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, March 12 -- vs. Wisconsin - Big Ten Tournament Final (Washington, D.C.), 3 p.m. [ TV: CBS ]

• Kornacki Postgame Feature: Walton's Goal Now Within Reach for Wolverines

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Derrick Walton Jr. scored a career-high 29 points as the University of Michigan men's basketball team won its third game in three days, outlasting Minnesota, 84-77, on Saturday afternoon (March 11) at the Verizon Center. With the win, Michigan advanced to the Big Ten Tournament final to face No. 24 Wisconsin, a 76-48 semifinal winner over Northwestern.

Walton, who also dished out a game-high nine assists, scored or assisted on 18 of Michigan's final 20 points, and he led four Wolverines who scored in double figures. Moritz Wagner added 17 points, Zak Irvin scored 13, and Duncan Robinson chipped in 10 points as U-M moved on to its first Big Ten final since 2014.

U-M led by 11 at the half, but a 17-4 run brought Minnesota back even with 13:10 remaining. The Golden Gophers knocked down three triples during the run, the third of which tied the game, 55-55. Minnesota opened the game 0-of-5 from three before going 3-of-3 from deep on the run. The Golden Gophers went on to miss each of the final five three-point attempts in the contest.

Robinson connected on a three-pointer to put the Wolverines back in front and, leading by one, Michigan scored six straight to push its advantage to 64-57. Wagner opened the spurt with a free throw, Walton added a triple, and Xavier Simpson drove the basket for a layup as the Wolverines led by seven with nine minutes left.

Minnesota clawed back within three until back-to-back trifectas from Walton gave the Maize and Blue a 72-63 lead with 5:17 remaining.

The Wolverines still led by nine entering the final two minutes, but six straight points from the Golden Gophers cut the Michigan lead to just 78-75 with 53 seconds to play. Walton then made four straight free throws for the Maize and Blue to put the game out of reach.

Walton went a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line as U-M went 18-of-22 (81.8 percent) from the charity stripe as a team.

Nate Mason scored 23 points for Minnesota, leading five Gophers in double figures. Dupree McBrayer had 14 points, Amir Coffey and Jordan Murphy added 13 points, and Reggie Lynch chipped in 12 points.

Wagner scored 10 early points as the Maize and Blue raced to an early 15-5 lead inside the opening four minutes of the contest. The U-M lead grew to 16, its largest of the game, with 10:41 to play in the opening half after a face-up jumper from Wagner and a basket by Irvin as the Wolverines opened the game 14-of-19 (73.7 percent) from the field.

Michigan led by 13 until a 9-2 burst by Minnesota cut the U-M advantage to 37-31 with just over four minutes to play before halftime, forcing a Wolverine timeout.

Out of the timeout, D.J. Wilson converted an old-fashioned three-point play, and Robinson followed with a trifecta as the Wolverines pushed their lead back to a dozen, 43-31, with 3:25 to play before the break.

U-M took a 47-36 lead into intermission as the Maize and Blue shot 63.3 percent (19-of-30) in the opening 20 minutes. Wagner led all scorers with 14 in the opening half on a perfect 5-of-5 from the field, including 2-of-2 from three, despite being limited to just nine minutes due to foul trouble. The 47 points allowed by Minnesota are the most the Golden Gophers have conceded in a first half this season.

Communications Contact: Tom Wywrot

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