NEW YORK – Led by the Zak Irvin’s 20 points and Derick Walton Jr.’s 13 points and 10 rebounds, Michigan defeated Penn State 79-72 today at Madison Square Garden.
However, the win didn’t come as easily as expected.
Michigan (17-5, 7-2 Big Ten), which led by 17 points with 10 minutes remaining, saw its lead cut down to five after three straight PSU 3s cutting its lead to 64-59 with 4:47 left in the game.
That’s when Michigan countered.
U-M’s Duncan Robinson drove the lane for easy layup, which was followed by a Walton Jr. bounce pass to cutting Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman to put U-M up 68-59 with just over four minute left in the game.
“He mean’s a lot,” Beilein said of Walton Jr. post-game on BTN. “He was the guts down that stretch when we were trying to give Zak a rest, Zak was tired.”
By guts, he’s referring to Walton Jr.’s clutch free throws to close out the game; he finished 6-of-6 from the line.
U-M now has swept Penn State (11-11, 2-7) this season, and won four straight games.
“There are some great point guards in this league,” Beilein said. “He is always guarding a great point guard. And he’s playing 39 minutes a game. He’s really means a lot to this team.”
Brandon Taylor led Penn State with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Michigan next plays host to Indiana on Tuesday at 9 p.m.