Michigan won its first road game of the season Sunday, beating Indiana, 75-63, at Assembly Hall. Head coach John Beilein’s team improved to 16-9 overall and 6-6 in the Big Ten while finishing off a sweep of the season series against Indiana for the first time since the 1994-95 season.
Derrick Walton Jr. continued his impressive play, scoring 25 points to top 20 points for the fifth straight game. Walton made all nine free throws he attempted as Michigan repelled every Indiana rally attempt. He also added five rebounds and four assists in 36 minutes.
Junior forward D.J. Wilson had 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while sophomore forward Mo Wagner produced his first career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 10 rebounds in 31 minutes of play.
Michigan’s defense limited Indiana to just 21-percent shooting (4 of 19) from 3-point range. Indiana guard James Blackmon Jr. was held to six points, 11 below his season average, while forward Thomas Bryant had just eight points. Bryant entered the game averaging 13 points.
Here’s how the Wolverines celebrated the victory entering the locker room:
— Michigan Basketball (@umichbball) February 12, 2017
Here are Beilein’s thoughts from his postgame interview on the U-M radio network:
On first road win
“It was really a great win for us. When you go on the road, to win at South Carolina, to win at UCLA, to win at Michigan State, to win at Wisconsin, nobody’s going to beat those guys there, but still it acts like it’s on you. You lose on the road. There’s a lot made about it in the media. Just to get a W on the road against a team like Indiana is big for us. I’m glad we got it. Now hopefully we learn from this prosperity right now, and we bring that into our next game against Wisconsin on Thursday.”
On answering Indiana runs after building double-digit lead
“It looked like at any time they could go on a spurt, and we just held them. I think it was an important point of the game, believe it or not, at the end of the first half and start of the second half (when) we could not buy a basket. We didn’t have good looks and we wasted some possessions. And they couldn’t buy a basket. It was because of our defense. Second half, same thing. We scored nothing, they scored two. There was about eight minutes there where went from a 10-point lead only down to an 8-point lead. That was huge that they didn’t go on a run, make it tight, and then we were fighting all the way down. I loved the way our kids executed when we had to.”
On defense vs. Indiana’s James Blackmon Jr. and Thomas Bryant
“Our big guys, having both Mark (Donnal) and Mo now around a little bit, they’ve been around the block a little bit, so they understand how to play defense, they understand coverages we’re going to have. They did a great job for us. I’m really pleased how those two did a great job on Thomas. I love what X (Xavier Simpson) is giving us right now. Besides good play, he’s giving much-needed rest for Muhammad (Ali Abdur-Rahkman), so in the last eight minutes, when a team can get away from you, Muhammad came in rested as can be. That way he was able to keep Blackmon from getting it going. It’s the same thing we’re getting from Mark and Mo right now. It makes us a better team.”
On Derrick Walton Jr.’s recent play
“He’s really putting it on his back right now to carry this team. Here’s the most compelling thing: his foul shooting. Knock on wood, but he had to hit two one-and-ones in that time period when it was still a nine-point game. Those are huge plays. A miss could make it a six-point game. He nailed both so it’s back to 11. With two shots, I know he’s going to get those a lot, but with one-and-ones, he’s a great one-and-one shooter, and it’s really made us good. He had a couple big baskets, he shot well from three. He’s a bulldog right now.”