ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- It might not have started the way Zak Irvin wanted it to but it was the way the game ended against Purdue on Saturday that will leave him satisfied with his performance.
Struggling mightily with his shooting in the first half, Irvin was the catalyst for the Wolverines in its 61-56 victory over number 25 Purdue on Saturday. Irvin lead the team with 22 points and clutch shooting down the stretch to seal the deal for U-M.
"It was a tough start for me," Irvin said. "I was really trying to get Swanigan off the boards and play the best post defense that I could. My legs were a little tired so it took me a little while to get my shot back from under me but I was able to do it in the second half. The coaches and my teammates told me to stay confident and I knew that someone had to step up and take that role."
Even with Caris LeVert inserted back into the lineup, Irvin was able to take control of the team and will them to victory. One game it could be Derrick Walton Jr, the other night it could be anyone else.
At the end of the day, U-M were able to defeat a tough team at home and avenge a loss against Boilermakers it suffered earlier in Big Ten play.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game today," Irvin said. "We knew it was going to be a dogfight, we knew it was going to come down to the last four minutes and it was able to happen this afternoon, I was proud of how we fought."
This was just no ordinary win for U-M, this was a victory that beefed up its resume and made a case for an NCAA tourney bid. Irvin knows how much this victory meant to his team.
"It's a huge win," Irvin said. "We know we needed another top 25 win and beating Purdue that helps out our resume and in the Big Ten. We're 8-4 going into this game and just the two tough home losses we had last week, we really wanted to change that and get a good win today."