We knew coming into this one that Michigan was going to be tested by the Oregon Ducks, who like to get out in transition and run up the score. The Wolverines, however, were able to control the pace for the most part and ice the game with free throws late, winning 70-63 in the second semifinal game of the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Zak Irvin nearly matched his season average with 19 points on 6 of 11 shooting. He shot .500 from the behind the arc, knocking down 3 of 6 attempts. We mentioned in the preview how Irvin could be counted on for a big night against the Ducks, given the way the pace would be pushed. Irvin’s biggest shot of the game came with 1:27 remaining in the second half. The Wolverines were up two and coming out of a timeout, and Irvin got enough space to hit his third and final 3-pointer of the night.
Much credit is due to the Wolverines’ defense. Oregon pulled down way too many offensive rebounds (18), but the Ducks were forced to play slower than they would have liked to, and that contributed to 14 turnovers, as opposed to Michigan’s eight.
Freshman big man Ricky Doyle came through for the Wolverines on the offensive end with 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting and three offensive rebounds, but he was exposed on defense, especially in one-on-one situations. That development will come in time, but his play remains unbalanced for now.
Coming into the game it was no question as to who the Wolverines had to focus on: Joseph Young, who was averaging 26.0 PPG going into the game. Young shot the ball 16 times, more than any other player on either team, and only connected five times. Eight of his 20 points came from the charity line, where he improved to a perfect 26 of 26.
Next for Michigan is Villanova (Tuesday, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2), who knocked off VCU in the first semifinal game. We will bring you that preview tomorrow.