Michigan holds on for 91-85 win over Nebraska (Jan 14, 2017)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Derrick Walton made up for some early foul trouble with another inspired performance down the stretch.
Walton scored 16 of his 20 points in the final 7:25, and Michigan held on for a much-needed victory Saturday, 91-85 over Nebraska. Walton played only 10 minutes in the first half because he picked up two fouls, but the senior helped the Wolverines pull through against another opponent that shot terrifically from 3-point range.
''I felt like I hurt my team by being in foul trouble in the first half, so I wanted to just come out and be aggressive,'' Walton said.
Nebraska (9-8, 3-2 Big Ten) went 9 of 18 from beyond the arc, but Michigan matched that percentage by going 11 of 22. Moe Wagner scored 23 points for the Wolverines (12-6, 2-3) and Zak Irvin added 21.
Tai Webster had 28 points for Nebraska, and Glynn Watson scored 20 of his 22 in the second half.
Michigan opponents are shooting a staggering 55 percent from 3-point range in conference play. The Wolverines held the Cornhuskers to only three attempts from beyond the arc in the first half, but Nebraska scored 20 of its first 22 points from in the paint and trailed just 40-36 at halftime.
The Cornhuskers had more success from the perimeter in the second half, but their inability to get to the free throw line ended up being crucial. Michigan went 26 of 30 from the line, while Nebraska was 4 of 5.
''We beat them on the boards. We had 44 (points) in the paint, but we just don't get to the foul line,'' Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. ''We just can't get beat at the foul line that bad. That really hurt us.''
The Cornhuskers were without forward Ed Morrow because of a right foot injury.
The Wolverines led by 10 briefly in the second half, but it was 66-63 when Walton went to the line with 7:25 remaining. Michigan's point guard would score 13 of his team's next 14 points, including a 3-pointer with 5:28 to play after the lead had been cut to one.
It was similar to his performance in the final minutes when the Wolverines beat Penn State on Jan. 4.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers have dropped two in a row after winning their first three Big Ten games. Webster scored 17 points in the first half, but Nebraska was never able to take the lead against a Michigan team that seemed to be on the ropes after a poor start in conference play.
Michigan: At some point, opponents will stop shooting such a remarkable percentage from 3-point range against the Wolverines. That's the assumption, at least. But until it happens, Michigan will have to whether the storm and win with its offense. The Wolverines were able to do that Saturday.
''We didn't stop them very often,'' Michigan coach John Beilein said. ''We outscored them, and if that's the way it's got to be for a while, while we shore that up, that's what we're going to have to do.''
Miles did little to hide his excitement about Nebraska's rematch with the Wolverines on March 5.
''I can't wait to play Michigan again,'' he said. ''We'll welcome them back into Pinnacle Bank Arena with open arms, and I'm excited for the game already. I wish we could play it tonight.''
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers host Ohio State on Wednesday night.
Michigan: The Wolverines play perhaps the toughest conference game on their schedule this season when they visit Wisconsin on Tuesday night.
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