Michigan Runs Away From SMU, Earn’s 2K Classic Title

Michigan Hoist's the 2K Classic Trophy - Photo by Scott Zolotorow

Michigan Hoist’s the 2K Classic Trophy – Photo by Scott Zolotorow

Michigan dominated SMU in the 2K Classic championship game, winning 76-54. Michigan’s win is the Big Ten’s first ever 2K Classic championship in the tournament’s storied 22 year existence.

Michigan had lost to SMU in the previous two seasons after starting both games slowly. But Friday night they shot the lights out, shooting 53 percent from the floor and 13-31 from deep, while only turning the ball over four times.

Derrick Walton, Jr., who was scoreless on four attempts in Thursday night’s win over Marquette, knocked down three triples in the game’s first three minutes propelling Michigan to a dominating first half. Walton finished with a game-high 23, while knocking down 7-12 from behind the arc and dishing six assists.

Zak Irvin was named the tournament’s MVP after scoring 16 points and grabbing six boards, giving him 32 points and 12 rebounds over the two game span. He sunk a three to end the half that bounced off the back rim high into the air and dropped through. It was that kind of night for the Wolverines.

Zak Irvin with the MVP trophy - Photo by Scott Zolotorow

Zak Irvin with the MVP trophy – Photo by Scott Zolotorow

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman finished with 12 points on 5-8 shooting. Both he and Walton made the all-tournament team with Irvin and Pittsburgh’s Michael Young and SMU’s Semi Ojeleye.

Wolverines junior forward D.J. Wilson again provided the Madison Square Garden crowd of just over 8,000 with plenty of excitement. He threw down two dunks of varying difficulty and form, finishing with six points. But Wilson’s biggest contribution was shutting down SMU’s Ojeleye, who dominated Pittsburgh Thursday night, but only scored 12 points, missing 11 of his 16 shot attempts in Friday’s contest.

Zak Irvin said of Wilson’s defense on Ojeleye, “He (Ojeleye) is one of the best players in this tournament, we knew he’d come out aggressively and D.J. did a great job of shutting him down, he stepped up.”

The Wolverines defense stymied the Mustangs offense, allowing them to shoot just 37 percent from the floor.

This is a very good Michigan team, who will be ranked come Monday’s polls. They should be somewhere in the mid-to-high teens after dominating two big name programs on a neutral court.

Scott Zolotorow