Derrick Walton Jr. scored 22 points, while D.J. Wilson scored 17 and Zak Irvin added 15 as Michigan completed its four-day run to the 2017 Big Ten Tournament championship, beating No. 2 seed Wisconsin 71-56 Sunday at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
It is the first official Big Ten Tournament title in Michigan’s history, and the Wolverines become the first No. 8 seed to win the tourney.
Michigan led for all but 19 seconds in the game, although Wisconsin cut an 11-point deficit to six points in the second half before the Wolverines expanded the final advantage. Michigan made 10-of-23 3-point attempts and shot 56.3 percent overall from the floor to more than offset Wisconsin’s dominance on the boards. The Badgers outrebounded Michigan 32-25, including 14 offensive rebounds — but they converted those extra chances into just 11 points.
Wisconsin was playing in the Big Ten championship game for the seventh time in the 20-year history of the tournament. It won titles in 2004, 2007 and 2015. Michigan’s previous championship game appearances came in 1998 (won but vacated) and 2013.
Michigan (24-11) and Wisconsin (25-9) split their two regular-season games, each coming back from 8-point deficits in the second half to win on their home courts. Michigan enters the NCAA Tournament having won 10 of its last 12 games.
It is the first win for Michigan against Wisconsin in four meetings in the Big Ten Tournament.
Why it happened
Michigan came out confident for the fourth day in a row, took an early lead and played from ahead nearly the entire game. It built a 10-point lead in the first half only to see Wisconsin come back. It rebuilt that double-digit lead in the second half and kept the Badgers at a safe distance.
What it means
Michigan wins its first official Big Ten Tournament championship. The Wolverines won the inaugural event in 1998, 76-67 against Purdue, but that title was later vacated due to NCAA violations.
Seniors Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin led the way for Michigan. Irvin added seven rebounds and five assists to his scoring total, while Walton had seven assists and six rebounds.
Wisconsin senior guard Bronson Koenig scored 13 points in the first half, including a late 3-pointer that cut Michigan’s lead to 33-32, but had just two points in the second half. Koenig missed all seven of his field-goal attempts in the second half.
What’s next for Michigan?
The NCAA Tournament. The who, what, when and where will be revealed shortly.
First official Big Ten Tourney title for Michigan. Final: 71-56 pic.twitter.com/w5x4Zqa4tX
— Kevin Goheen (@CincyGoGo) March 12, 2017