ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan needed someone to take the big shot.
That someone turned out to be a duo, as in Zak Irvin and Derick Walton Jr., who both hit key buckets for the Wolverines in the stretch run of U-M’s upset 70-67 win against No. 3 Maryland Tuesday night.
“At that time, I kind take it in my hands,” Walton Jr. said. “Just like ‘the moment is really big, you love big moments.’ So happen tonight the opportunity was there. I really thanked my teammates and my coaching staff for putting me in position to make those plays.”
And big plays he made indeed.
Walton Jr. scored 12 points in the win. But most importantly he sparked U-M’s final offensive scoring run, when he crossed over a Terrapin defender and jumped back for key three pointer, putting Michigan up 64-59 with 3:33 remaining,
Then, well, Zak Irvin, who scored a game high 22-points, followed up Walton Jr. with a three-pointer of his own, as the Wolverines extended their lead to 67-59.
“We kind of hold ourselves to together and made a vow ‘we was going to win this game, we was going to make the plays for the team,’” Walton Jr. said of his talks with Irvin before hand. “ So it was kind of personal.”
Walton Jr. would score U-M’s final field goal on a step back jumper that put the Wolverines up 69-62 with just under two minutes remaining.
“The coaches had confidence in either one of us,” Walton Jr. said of Irvin and himself. “So happened my number was called a couple times and I was able to capitalize for my team.”
Michigan (13-4, 3-1 Big Ten) plays at No. 16 Iowa on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.