The Michigan men’s basketball team returned home to Ann Arbor to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers after experiencing a two-game skid which saw the Wolverines lose to Maryland and Illinois. Michigan was able to end the losing streak as it defeated Nebraska, 91-85.
Michigan was in a consent battle throughout the game against Nebraska. The Wolverines were able to beat the pesky Cornhuskers due to their “Big Three” (Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton and Mortiz Wagner) having big time games.
Wagner started out hot shooting wise for Michigan, as he scored 14 of his career high 23 points in the first half. He kicked off his career day with a three and also took out some frustration on the rim against Nebraska.
Looks like @moritz_weasley took out some frustration on this @umichbball slam. https://t.co/oREPByzS1T— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) January 14, 2017
While Wagner cooled off after the first-half, which saw Michigan lead Nebraska 40-36 at halftime, Irvin and Walton picked up the slack. Especially late in the game.
It seemed like the Wolverines were about to let the game slip through their fingers, just like they did against the Virginia Tech Hokies. However, Walton scored 11 points in three and half minutes for Michigan after Nebraska pulled within four of the Wolverines’ lead.
In the last minute of the game, Irvin hit 6-of-6 free throws while Walton sunk 4-of-4 freebies. Irvin finished with 21 points and Walton finished wit 20. The trio scored 70.3 percent of Michigan’s points.
Against Illinois and Maryland, Michigan’s perimeter defense was poor. But against Nebraska, it was on point. Especially in the first half. The Wolverines held the Cornhuskers to only three attempts beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.
Although, Michigan’s perimeter defense let up in the second-half against Big Red, the Wolverines’ ability to get to the free throw line and not foul helped them secure their second conference win of the season. Michigan went 26 of 30 from the free throw line while Nebraska was a mere 4 of 5.
The Wolverines defense was once again, not great. But at some point, their opponents will stop shooting blistering percentages from 3-point land. Until then, Michigan will have to whether the storm of non-existent defense and try to win with its high-octane offense. Which the Wolverines were able to do against the Cornhuskers.
According to KenPom, this was Michigan’s most likely win among its remaining games of the season. After the Cornhuskers, the Wolverines will face its likely to win against opponent, the Wisconsin Badgers, when they visit Madison on Tuesday night.