Michigan’s Derrick Walton Jr. wanted to forfeit.
That’s what CBS’ broadcast team reported Sunday during Michigan’s Big Ten Tournament title game win against Wisconsin. After a scary plane crash on Wednesday, the Wolverines voted whether to fly to Washington on Thursday (only hours before the Illinois game) or forfeit their tourney opener.
Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery and Grant Hill called the game for CBS.
According to the broadcast team, Walton, who needed stitches and hurt his knee during the plane accident, understandably voted in favor of forfeiting. But a majority of the team voted to play — so the Wolverines did fly in before Thursday’s game. Hours later, the improbable tournament run began.
— Michigan Basketball (@umichbball) March 12, 2017
It’s been a memorable run for the Wolverines. They played in their practice uniforms Thursday as they beat Illinois. They then beat top-seeded Purdue and fourth-seeded Minnesota to advance to the conference title game. The run pushed Michigan ever more safely into the NCAA Tournament bracket and into a darkhorse contender to make a deep run.
On Sunday, the Wolverines capped off the emotional run with a championship. They beat Wisconsin 71-56 as Walton had 22 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds.
In the Wolverines’ first three Big Ten Tournament games, Walton posted 19, 12 and 29 points. His 29-point burst against Minnesota included a perfect 10-for-10 at the foul line.