Irvin Provides Spark off the Bench

STORY: Freshman Zak Irvin scores 13 points and made three 3-pointers in U-M's 79-60 win over Wayne State.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan may have found a perfect role for freshman Zak Irvin.

To be used as a sparkplug off the bench, as the No. 7 Wolverines' defeated Wayne State 79-60 in their second and final exhibition game Monday night.

Irvin provided the energy the U-M offense needed, finishing with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting including 3-of-5 from three-point range.

"It felt great," Irvin said. "Just to be able to provide energy off the bench. My team was depending on me. I was able to that tonight. We got off to great start and we got a great victory."

In the first half, Irvin provided the Michigan offense with three 3-pointers in the first half, on his way to nine points and on 3-of-3 shooting from long range in eight minutes played.

"I was definitely in my comfort zone hitting three (3-pointers) early in the first half," Irvin said. "The second half I was just able to just relax and play my game."

Midway through the second-half, Irvin displayed his ability to create off the dribble and hit a mid-range jumper near the foul line. He capped off his scoring, with a smooth jumper off the right wing in the last six minutes of the game.

"That's on part of my game," Irvin said on his mid-range jumper. "It shows really what I have been working on with my spot up shooting."

"Whether he is spotting up in the corner or spotting up in the wing out front, he just has to stand there and people will find him," Michigan coach John Beilein said.

At 6-foot-6, 200-pounds, Irvin has two straight double figure scoring outputs this exhibition season, as Michigan heads into its season opener against UMass-Lowell this Friday at 7 p.m. at the Crisler Center. He finished with 10 points in U-M's 117-44 win over Concordia (Mich.) last week.

And tonight's performance is what is expected of him moving forward into the season, said sophomore Caris LeVert.

"Zak played a really great game," LeVert said. "That's what we are expecting from him. He's a great player. He gave us a great spark off the bench offensively as well as defensively.

"I definitely see that all year long. He is really capable of doing that for us."

In the meantime, Irvin is embracing his role.

"I'm just a team player just out here to help my team win. My team is depending on me to come off the bench and bring energy. I was able to do that tonight."

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