NEW YORK (AP) — Zak Irvin led five players in double figures with 16 points and Michigan pulled away late in the first half for a 79-61 victory over Marquette in the second semifinal of the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden Thursday night.
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and reserve Mark Donnal added 15 points apiece for Michigan (3-0), which led for the final 33-plus minutes and beat Marquette for the 14th time in 20 meetings.
Michigan will face SMU in the championship game Friday. Marquette will face Pittsburgh in the consolation game.
The Wolverines shot 59 percent in the first half and 51 percent overall.
Luke Fischer led the Golden Eagles (2-1) with 19 points, Hannif Cheatham added 12 and JaJuan Johnson contributed 11 but it was not nearly enough as Marquette shot 41 percent and committed 15 turnovers.
Marquette trailed by 29 early in the second half and made a slight dent in the lead with about 6 minutes remaining when Matt Heldt scooped in a layup through a double team after nearly fumbling the ball away to make it 67-53.
Michigan did not let the lead slip below 12 and sealed the win when Irvin’s 3-pointer late in the shot clock spun around the rim before going in with about a 4 minutes remaining. On the next possession, D.J. Wilson converted an alley-oop baseline dunk and free throw for a 73-57 advantage.
Marquette held a pair of one-point leads early in the second half and stayed with Michigan until around the eight-minute mark. Already leading 28-20, Michigan scored 10 straight points in a span of 2:05 and held a 50-26 lead at halftime.
Marquette won its first two games by double digits over Vanderbilt and Howard, getting away with shaky first halves. The Golden Eagles averaged 36.5 points in the first halves those games but against a higher level of competition, Marquette was held to 26. The first four possessions of the second half did not go well either as the Golden Eagles were called for traveling twice and were not close on two 3-point attempts.
Michigan made 342 3-pointers last season, the most in school history, and the third time under coach John Beilein’s spread offense the Wolverines made at least 300. Michigan is off to a good start again from long range. After going 16 of 45 in its first two wins, the Wolverines were slightly better Thursday with a 9-of-23 showing.
Marquette will face former Big East foe Pittsburgh in the 2K Classic championship game Friday.
Michigan will face SMU in the 2K Classic championship game Friday.