After a come-from-behind effort to knock off Minnesota, 62-57, Michigan now sits alone at second place in the Big Ten standings with a 3-1 conference record. How ‘bout that?
It wasn’t too long ago when the Wolverines dropped four games in a row, two of which were to N.J.I.T. and Eastern Michigan. The woes certainly haven’t been worked out of the system, but a win like this at home can really bolster a team’s confidence, especially when it comes at this crucial time.
Minnesota has been shooting the lights out this season with 79.9 points per game heading into its contest with Michigan.
The defensive intensity rose to a new high today for the Wolverines, though, and we were once again reminded of what (positive) energy looks like on the court.
John Beilein went with a 1-3-1 defense for a stretch in the second half. The Wolverines created two quick turnovers and converted with some emphasis and authority. A 9-to-2 Wolverines run began with just under eight minutes to play, launching Michigan back in position to strike.
The Wolverines gained the final lead of the game with a Derrick Walton Jr. three-pointer at the 3:22 mark, assisted by Caris LeVert.
From there, it was all about a closing effort.
Free throws from Zak Irivn and LeVert helped ice the game away, and Michigan walked out with its second straight win.
Michigan Team Leaders
Points: Derrick Walton Jr., Caris LeVert — 15
Assists: Derrick Walton Jr. — 3
Rebounds: Ricky Doyle — 6
Minnesota Team Leaders
Points: Andre Hollins — 18
Assists: Deandre Mathieu, Nate Mason — 3
Rebounds: Maurice Walker — 10
Next up for Michigan: Jan. 13 — @ Ohio State
Tyler Fenwick is the managing editor of The Big House Report. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.