Michigan picked up its first road victory of the season on Tuesday evening as it left Raleigh, NC with a Big Ten-ACC Challenge victory over NC State. The Wolverines led for the final 75% of the game and by as many as 15 in the second half, but held on for the 66-59 victory even with starting point guard Derrick Walton sidelined for the second half with an ankle injury.
It was over when
Back-to-back threes by Duncan Robinson and Zak Irvin stretched Michigan’s lead to 10 points late in the second half, but NC State managed to keep close. Ricky Doyle helped by finishing a pick-and-roll dish from Zak Irvin and drawing a charge on the ensuing possession while Caris LeVert put the icing on the cake with six late free throws.
Star of the Game: Duncan Robinson
Robinson’s shooting ability is legitimate and he scored 17 points on 6-of-8 (5-7) 3-point shooting for the Wolverines on Tuesday night. Robinson sparked Michigan’s offense in the first half with a quick barrage of triples off the bench and then provided a similar spark in the second to push Michigan’s lead back up from 4 points.
Stat of the Game: Half Time Splits
Michigan coasted through the first half thanks to its ability to clean up the defensive glass and keep the Wolfpack off the free throw line. NC State attempted just three free throws in the first half and grabbed only 3 offensive rebounds in 20 chances. In the second half, those numbers were turned on their head. The Pack attempted 21 second half free throws and rebounded 10 of 21 missed shots.
Room for Improvement: Health
Derrick Walton went down with an injury to his left ankle in the first half, leaving Michigan fans holding their breath. Walton was plagued by foot and toe injuries last season and it was hard to watch him with his face in his towel as trainers examined the ankle area before helping him to the locker room. With Spike Albrecht already sidelined indefinitely as he focused on rehab of his two hip surgeries this summer, Michigan could find itself without a healthy point guard on the roster.