Zak Irivn broke out of a brutal shooting slump to lead Michigan to its best win of the season, defeating No. 11 Wisconsin, 64-58, on Thursday night in Ann Arbor.
Moritz Wagner, the 6-foot-11 sophomore, had a career-best 21 points.
Irvin was 4-of-31 in his previous four games, combining for 13 points. The Wolverines went 2-2 in that span, winning the latter pair. But the senior erupted in the second half, all of which began with a banked 3-pointer at the top of the key. Irvin shrugged his shoulders running back on defense, but at that point he’d take anything he could get.
Irvin scored 12 of his team-high 18 points, off 4-for-6 (2-for-2 from three) shooting.
Aside from Irvin catching fire, Michigan’s defense slowed down Ethan Happ, who finished with 22 points, but did not score during the final 13:24 of regulation. That was partly due to foul trouble in the second half, but mostly to do with Michigan doubling the post in the second half.
With Bronson Koenig out with a calf injury, the Badgers got next to nothing offensively once Happ was limited. Happ was 10-of-13. Khalil Iverson had 10 points off the bench. The rest of Wisconsin was 8-for-40 for 26 combined points.
Before this, Michigan’s best win was a neutral floor win over SMU. This was months before the Mustangs won nine straight and 19 of their last 20. And the Wolverines’ signature win could not have come at a better time. Projected as a No. 10 seed in the latest bracketology, Michigan closes out the year with four of five on the road. That slate includes trips to Minnesota and Northwestern, while also hosting Purdue.
The Wolverines are rolling, winners of three straight, and momentum could have come at a more crucial point of the season.