Coming out of timeout, Michigan (10-6, 3-1 Big Ten) led 57-55, and that’s when Walton told Doyle to look for the possible pass around the bucket.
“It was a read during the entire game that they wouldn’t really help with our shooters,” Walton Jr. said, adding: “I just threw it up to the rim and Ricky finished it.”
Doyle’s dunk brought the 12,707 Crilser Center fans to their feet, as Michigan would give keep Minnesota (11-6, 0-4) winless in Big Ten conference play.
“Those two synched on it,” U-M coach John Beilein said. “And it was a really big play in the game.”
Trailing 49-40, Michigan switched to its 1-3-1 zone defense, and it paid dividends right away. The Wolverines would cause back-to-back turnovers and would cut the Gophers lead to 49-47 off a Doyle bucket and the foul with 6:56 remaining.
“The whole idea was if you’re just solid defensively – they’ll give you the ball a few times,” Beilein said. “And we changed our help coverage today just because they got so many shooters. That provided a couple turnovers too.”
Minnesota finished with 17 turnovers compared to Michigan’s nine.
“I don’t think it’s too hard to figure out why we lost that game,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. “You got to give them credit, they made us pay when we made ridiculous turnovers.”
U-M took the lead 54-52 off a Walton Jr. three-pointer with 3:24 remaining. The Wolverines would never trail again, despite Walton Jr. not playing 100 percent.
“Derrick was playing like we remember Derrick playing,” Beilein said. “He was not 100 percent healthy, But he was healthier today in a game he has been in a long time.”
Minnesota was led by Andre Hollins 18 points with Corlos Morris adding 16.
With the game tied at-32, Minnesota proceeded to go on a 14-5 run to extend its led to 46-37 with 11:02 left in the game. The Gophers were sparked by Morris, who scored seven of the Gophers points during that stretch, including a layup and the foul.
Despite shooting 0-for-8 from 3s in the first half, Michigan finished 4-for-18 form beyond the arc. Walton Jr. led the Wolverines shooting 3-of-4 form 3s.
Minnesota led 27-25 at the half. The Gophers shot 5-of-11 from 3s in the first half, finishing 8-of-22. Michigan outscored Minnesota 14-6 in the paint in the first-half.
The Gophers took their first lead, 19-17, off a Morris layup with 7:08 remaining in the first half. Minnesota would extend its lead to 26-21 at the 3:59 mark of the first half, part of 14-4 run by the Gophers.
LeVert scored eight points early on to give Michigan a 15-9 lead with 9:53 left in the first half.
Michigan next plays at rival Ohio State this Tuesday at 7 p.m.