With the clock winding down in the final minute of the first half, senior guard Derrick Walton Jr. got the ball in transition. He drew two defenders at midcourt before dishing the ball to Zak Irvin, who finished a wide-open layup with ease.
The senior guard’s basket marked the Michigan basketball team’s last points of the half and capped off a 13-0 run for the Wolverines over the final 3:47.
After stringing together those points, Michigan carried a 43-32 lead into halftime Sunday at Crisler Center. And the Wolverines wouldn’t relinquish their lead in the second half, keeping their foot on the pedal the rest of the way en route to a 77-65 victory against IUPUI in the 2K Classic’s Ann Arbor regional.
Early in the half, there weren’t many defensive stops to go around, as both teams traded baskets for the first five minutes. In the five that followed, though, Michigan (2-0) looked vulnerable.
The Wolverines’ offense sputtered, as they were forced to settle for shots from the perimeter with the shot clock winding down. The Jaguars (0-2), on the other hand, kept building an early lead.
Then, redshirt sophomore forward DJ Wilson gave Michigan its wake-up call. With roughly nine minutes left in the half, Walton’s transition layup clanged off the rim.
But Wilson was there, grabbing the rebound with two hands and throwing it down for a put-back dunk. The slam brought the Wolverines within one after they trailed by as much as seven during the stretch.
The Wolverines’ offense came out of its funk from there — going on a 14-point barrage catalyzed by four 3-pointers — kick-starting their run that would end the half.
The dunk was just a microcosm of Wilson’s impact for Michigan. Though he scored just 7 points, Wilson cleaned up on the boards, finishing with 14 rebounds in 30 minutes.
In the second half, Michigan went into cruise control, and it was a decision it could have ended up regretting. The Wolverines led by as many as 19 points, but their smallest lead of the half was by a margin of just nine.
Still, they let IUPUI hang around. And with the way Darrell Combs was playing, that wasn’t a good idea. The Jaguars’ guard finished with a game-high 22 points — pouring in 15 in the first half — and shot 10-for-16 from the field.
Combs looked like a man on a mission. But fortunately for Michigan, it had plenty of firepower of its own. Four players — junior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, sophomore forward Moritz Wagner, Walton and Irvin — finished with double-digit scoring.
Walton and Irvin combined for 28 points on 9-for-21 shooting, while Wagner added 13 of his own.
The Wolverines may not always be able to outscore teams, though. Allowing IUPUI to hang around didn’t matter. But against any other team, it could prove costly.