Champions! Michigan Grabs Big Ten Tournament Title

March 12, 2017

» Derrick Walton Jr. was named tournament MVP.
» Zak Irvin had 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists against Wisconsin and was named to the all-tournament team.
» No. 8 seed Michigan becomes the lowest-seeded team to win the Big Ten Tournament.

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Site: Washington, D.C. (Verizon Center)
Score: Michigan 71, #24 Wisconsin 56
Records: U-M (24-11), UW (25-9)
Next U-M Event: Friday, March 17 -- vs. Oklahoma State - NCAA Tournament (Indianapolis, Ind.), 12:15 p.m. [ TV: CBS ]

• Kornacki Postgame Feature: Against All Odds, Wolverines Prevail in D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team claimed its first Big Ten Tournament championship since the 1997-98 season with a decisive 71-56 victory over Wisconsin Sunday afternoon (March 12) at the Verizon Center.

The championship completed a memorable five-day stretch that began Wednesday (March 8) with the team's plane sliding off the runway following an aborted takeoff attempt. After landing in Washington, D.C., Thursday morning and arriving at the arena less than two hours before tipoff, the No. 8-seeded Wolverines proceeded to become the lowest-seeded team to win the Big Ten Tournament and the second to claim the title by winning four games in four days.

Michigan quickly turned its attention to Sunday night's NCAA Tournament selection show, which revealed the Wolverines as a No. 7 seed. U-M will play 10th-seeded Oklahoma State Friday (March 17) at 12:15 p.m. in Indianapolis, Indiana. CBS will televise the game from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Leading 33-32 at the break, Michigan scored the first six points of the second half and built a 44-34 margin with 13:16 remaining on a nifty three-point play from Zak Irvin, who put on a special all-around performance throughout the game.

Also playing large into the second half run were Michigan's defensive adjustments. Coach John Beilein shifted responsibilities throughout the early part of the second half, alternating coverage of Wisconsin big men Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes. The result prompted the only offensive struggle of the game for either team as Michigan harassed the Badgers into 1-of-10 shooting to start the decisive half.

A back-rim three-pointer from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman made it a 49-38 U-M lead, but Wisconsin again forced its way back into the game, using a triple from Vitto Brown and a steal and converted layup from Zak Showalter to make it 51-45 and prompt a U-M timeout with 6:06 remaining.

Coming out of the timeout, Irvin nailed a gutsy triple of his own, coming off a curl and connecting on a fall-away attempt with the shot clock winding down for a 54-45 lead. Another dagger was then delivered by Duncan Robinson, who connected deep on the left side for his only field goal of the day and a 57-47 lead.

As it had so often before, Wisconsin answered right back with Showalter sticking a triple at the 3:34 mark, but the Badgers had no more comebacks and Michigan won the game going away.

Big Ten Tournament Champs

Derrick Walton Jr. earned tournament MVP honors with another special performance on Sunday. The senior led the way with 22 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Irvin added 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

D.J. Wilson was also pivotal in the victory, contributing 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go with six rebounds.

The teams came out with methodical offensive attacks as both shot well over 50 percent throughout much of the first half. Michigan threatened to pull away twice in the opening session, but Wisconsin answered both times.

Back-to-back makes from Irvin gave U-M a 19-13 lead at the 11:08 mark to force a Wisconsin timeout. The Badgers' defense responded by holding U-M scoreless for the next 3:26 to pull within 21-18. Walton then sparked another run with consecutive triples to give U-M its largest lead of the half, 30-20, with 5:22 left. At that point he had already connected four times from deep after hitting from long range a combined seven times in his previous six games against Wisconsin.

Again Wisconsin answered, this time with a 7-0 run before an Irvin triple gave the Wolverines a 33-32 lead going into the locker room. Michigan shot 59 percent overall (13-for-22) and 7-of-13 from deep in the opening half, while Wisconsin checked in at 54 percent (14-for-26) from the floor and 4-of-7 from deep.

Tweet of the Game

Communications Contact: Tom Wywrot

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