Derrick Walton Jr.’s final regular-season basketball game was one for the Michigan record books as the Wolverines rolled to a 93-57 victory Sunday night at Nebraska. Nebraska scored the first basket of the game but Michigan followed with a 14-0 run and never let up.
The win was the 209th in John Beilein’s 10 seasons at Michigan, equaling the school record of Johnny Orr. Michigan (20-11, 10-8 Big Ten) has won 20 games seven times under Beilein.
Michigan has won six of its last eight games and is poised to make a serious run in the Big Ten Tournament, which begins on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The Wolverines are the No. 8 seed and will face No. 9 seed Illinois Thursday at noon (ET). The winner gets top-seeded Purdue, but one of Michigan’s wins during this current streak came against the Boilermakers, 82-70, on Feb. 25.
Walton scored 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting but also set a Michigan single-game record with 16 assists, breaking Gary Grants record of 14. He committed just two turnovers. Nebraska had 11 assists and 16 turnovers. He led five Michigan players in double figures; Zak Irvin scored 15 points, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had 13 points, Moritz Wagner 11 and Mark Donnal 10.
Michigan made 34 of 54 shots from the field (63 percent), including 14 of 27 (51.9 percent) from 3-point range.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 6, 2017
Why it happened
Michigan easily could’ve come into Lincoln hanging its head after the last-second 67-65 loss at Northwestern on Wednesday but the Wolverines did just the opposite. They jumped out to a 14-2 lead and Nebraska was never in the game. The Wolverines have been a focused team since losing at home to Ohio State, 70-66, on Feb. 4 and that was especially the case Sunday night.
What it means
Win or lose, Michigan was locked into the No. 8 seed for the Big Ten Tournament, but it has now won six of its last eight games, with the two losses coming in overtime at Minnesota and stunner at Northwestern. There’s no reason this team can’t make a deep run or even win the Big Ten tourney.
Walton had nine assists at halftime, which was good enough for a season-high total. He finished with 16 assists and turned the ball over just two times.
No one on Michigan’s team. Nebraska, well that’s another story.
What’s next for Michigan
The No. 8-seed Wolverines play their first game in the Big Ten tourney at noon (ET) Thursday against No. 9 Illinois. The tournament is being held at the Verizon Center in Washington.
Michigan closes out the regular season with a blowout at Nebraska. pic.twitter.com/EwUgRmTAoE
— Kevin Goheen (@CincyGoGo) March 6, 2017