Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Sports

Guard comes home to save Wolverines in overtime

INDIANAPOLIS — It was a shot Zak Irvin was more than willing to take.

The Michigan guard's winning jumper from the wing with 3.3 seconds to play capped a 19-point effort, lifting No. 8 seed Michigan to a 72-70 overtime victory against No. 9 Northwestern on Thursday in the Big Ten tournament.

Irvin, who grew up in the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers and graduated from Hamilton Southeastern High, added eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.

The Wolverines (21-11) trailed 70-67, but Duncan Robinson's 3-pointer with 46.5 seconds left tied it. Northwestern (20-12) missed an opportunity to retake the lead, and Michigan ran the clock down from 29.3 seconds to set up Irvin's winner.

"I was amped up before the game," he said. "It's always nice coming back to your hometown so that friends and family can see you play. I was just proud of how hard we were able to fight and how tough we were throughout. Coach (John) Beilein put the ball in my hands at the end, and we were just trying to get the best shot we could."

Robinson led UM with 21 points and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman added 14. The Wolverines advance to play No. 1 seed Indiana in today's first quarterfinal.

Tre Demps led Northwestern with 21, Alex Olah had 20 and Bryant McIntosh scored 19.

Michigan shot 38 percent and Northwestern shot 37 percent.

Olah's 3 with 17 seconds to play in regulation pulled Northwestern within 59-58. Robinson made one of two free throws with 14.3 seconds left for a 60-58 lead, and Olah's rebound basket just ahead of the final horn forced overtime, tied at 60, setting the stage for Irvin's heroics.

Wildcats coach Chris Collins wasn't surprised when 40 minutes was not enough to produce a winner. "These are two very evenly matched teams," he said. "We don't have that brand name that Michigan has, but we are a good basketball team that is getting there. I hope we have more basketball to play this season. These guys deserve that.

Illinois 68, No. 20 Iowa 66: Jalen Coleman-Lands scored 17 and Malcolm Hill broke a tie with a 16-foot jumper with 1:14 to go, helping the Fighting Illini (15-18) to the upset. Illinois won for only the second time in six games — this one after allowing the Hawkeyes (21-10) to score 11 straight points in 98 seconds to tie the score at 66 with 1:40 to play. Hill gave Illinois the lead with his midrange jumper and the struggling Hawkeyes didn't score again. Iowa (21-10) was led by Peter Jock, who tied his career high with 29 points before fouling out. "We played ridiculously hard," Illinois coach John Groce said.

Ohio State 79, Penn State 75: Marc Loving scored 24, JaQuan Lyle added 22 and the Buckeyes (20-12) used a late 7-0 run to hold off the Nittany Lions (16-16). Ohio State has won six of its last eight. Shep Garner scored 25 and Donovon Jack 18 for Penn State, which lost for the third time in seven games.

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