ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Maybe it was the black socks.
In an effort that the “Fab Five” could be proud of, Michigan honored its former greats of yesteryear with arguably its best performance of the season, by defeating its cross state rival, Michigan State, 86-57, in a NCAA Tournament season saving win at Crisler center Tuesday night.
Derrick Walton Jr. once again did everything for the Michigan’s (15-9, 5-6 Big Ten) offense, scoring 20 points, with eight assists and five rebounds in the win. He would finish 7-of-10 from the floor, including a perfect 3-of-3 from 3s, capping off his third straight game with at least 20 points.
Moe Wagner added 19 points for U-M, with two more Wolverines finishing in double digit scoring.
U-M, which lost at MSU 70-62 nine days earlier in East Lansing, looked like a different team completely, especially on offense
An offense, no less, that finished shooting 32-of-53 from the floor, good for 60.4 percent.
Miles Bridges led MSU (14-10, 6-5) with 13 points, but would also add five turnovers.
In fact, MSU would finish with 21 turnovers overall, with Cassius Winston giving away a game-high six. U-M would only squander eight.
After a D.J. Wilson dunk put U-M up 59-29 a minute into the second half, MSU would go on 14-5 over the next 6:40, cutting U-M’s lead to 64-43, that was as close as the Spartans would get the rest of the game.
U-M finished 10-of-31 from 3s, good for 47.6 percent. While MSU only made 5-of-16 at a 31.6 percent rate.
First Half Runs
With Michigan up 23-19 with 9:11 to go in the first half, U-M would go on scoring barrage. Walton would open with a three, followed by wide open three-ball by Xavier Simpson.
Then with U-M rolling, Wagner would defect the ball, stumble and lay the ball in for an emphatic layup. Walton would cap off the run with another three-pointer, with U-M taking a 35-19 lead with 6:26 left in the half.
Dunk gets tech, sparks another run
After Wilson emphatically went up and finished with a one handed dunk, making it 41-24 with 4:31 left in the half, screaming at a MSU player as he ran up the court. He would be given a technical for taunting, but it seemed to spark U-M even further.
U-M would end the half on a 14-2 run, capped off by brilliant play, with Walton dribble driving under the basket with five seconds remaining, finding a wide open Duncan Robinson for three, making it 55-29 at the half.
Wolverines shoot lights out in first half
U-M finished 21-of-28 from the field in the first half, good for 75 percent. Also, they would make 8-of-11 3s. MSU, however, made 13-of-22 from the floor, good for 59.1 percent.
Michigan plays at Indiana on Sunday at 1 p.m.