The Michigan Wolverines (23-11, 10-8) pulled of another upset in the Big Ten tournament, beating the Minnesota Golden Gophers (24-9, 11-7) 84-77 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals on Saturday afternoon.
Derrick Walton Jr. put up 29 points and nine assists. Zak Irvin had 19 points and five rebounds for the team while Moritz Wagner put up 17 and 4.
Prior to Saturday’s game, the Gophers lost senior guard Akeem Springs, their best three-point shooter, to a gruesome injury in the quarterfinals. That absence was noticeable through out the game as the team shot just 3 for 12 from three-point range.
The Wolverines came out swinging in the first half, making a 19-9 lead with 14:36 left. The Golden Gophers had trouble bringing in rebounds and with turning the ball over. However, Minnesota started to get some momentum back around 7:18 thanks to some improved shooting in the paint. The Wolverines were able to hold on for a 47-36 lead going into halftime.
The second half didn’t go so well for the maize and blue. They didn’t shoot as well from the floor and couldn’t get as many rebounds. Eventually, the Gophers tied the game 55-55 with 13:07 left in the game thanks to a 17-4 run. After a few minutes of close game, the Wolverines got momentum on their side thanks to consecutive three-point jumpers by Derrick Walton Jr to make it 72-63. As the game went on, Minnesota couldn’t keep up and the maize and blue held on for the win.
Even though Michigan was out-rebounded 38-24, they shot 53.7% from field-goal range and 34.8% from three-point range. They also went 18 for 22 from the free-throw line.
The Wolverines now move on to the Big Ten Tournament finals for the first time since 2014 to face the winner of Wisconsin vs. Northwestern this Sunday at 3:00 p.m. EST on CBS.