ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The anticipation was close, that somehow Michigan would help secure John Beilein his 200th win as the Wolverines’ head coach.
And D.J. Wilson — he of the unusually short shorts and the unusually unruly hair — came through with an alley-oop play with less than 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation to help Michigan to a 72-69 win against Penn State on Wednesday at the Crisler Center.
Despite having Duncan Robinson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman in foul trouble in the final 10 minutes of the second half, Michigan erased a 14-point deficit against the Nittany Lions to secure the milestone victory.
WHY IT HAPPENED: Michigan (11-4, 1-1 Big Ten) led 7-6 less than four minutes into the game, but did not lead again in the first half and trailed 36-29 at intermission. Penn State (9-7, 1-2) also outrebounded Michigan in the first half, 21-9, grabbing 15 defensive rebounds. But the Wolverines kept the game close enough so that when Michigan came to life in the game’s final 10 minutes, grabbing rebounds and driving the lane as Penn State’s shooting went cold, victory was still within reach.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR MICHIGAN: Michigan, despite being beaten on the boards, 38-27, and, to a certain extent, out-energized by Penn State, is now .500 in Big Ten play. While it’s still early in the season, Michigan has to quickly regroup after stumbling for the bulk of the game against one of the Big Ten’s lower-profile programs.
WHO STARRED: For Michigan, Derrick Walton Jr. scored 14 points and had 6 rebounds while Zak Irvin scored 14 points, as well. For Penn State, Lamar Stevens scored 16 points and had 9 rebounds, but fouled out with less than two minutes left.
WHO STUMBLED: Robinson entered the game averaging 9.3 points but got into foul trouble early and finished with 8 points.
WHO WAS THERE: With classes back in session, Michigan had a substantial student section.
WHO IS NEXT: Michigan hosts Maryland at 3:15 p.m. ET Saturday at the Crisler Center.