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March Madness: Michigan rains threes on Oklahoma State in first-round win

Michigan's D.J. Wilson celebrates after hitting a three-point

Michigan's D.J. Wilson celebrates after hitting a three-point basket during the first half of a first-round game against Oklahoma State in the NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 17, 2017, in Indianapolis. Credit: AP / Jeff Roberson

INDIANAPOLIS — This is basketball, 2017:

Oklahoma State shot 54.7 percent from the floor on Friday in an NCAA Tournament first-round game against Michigan.

It scored 91 points.

It outrebounded Michigan 40-21.

And it lost.

So it goes in an era in which three-pointers rule. A team that can make them in waves is difficult to stop, even against a potent opponent.

Thus did seventh-seeded Michigan (25-11) advance with a 92-91 victory over 10th-seeded Oklahoma State (20-13) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, making and attempting more three-pointers (16-for-29) than twos (13-for-27). Michigan hit 11 of those threes after halftime.

“If somebody ever said we’re going to give up 91 and we were going to win, I wouldn’t have thought that was going to happen,” Michigan coach John Beilein said.

It helped that Michigan had 19 assists and only four turnovers — the Wolverines lead the nation in fewest turnovers — and that star guard Derrick Walton Jr. found his touch after a poor start.

In the first half, he shot 1-for-6 (1-for-3 on three-pointers) and had seven points. In the second half, he was 6-for-7 from the field (5-for-6 on three-pointers) and had 19 points for a total of 26. He also had 11 assists.

Walton attributed his not getting discouraged to a confident mindset.

“I just tap into the fact that I know I’ve worked really hard and trust my mechanics, for the most part,” he said.

The senior from Detroit was MVP of last week’s Big Ten Tournament, an event that won him and his teammates widespread attention because of what preceded it.

On March 8, the Michigan plane overran a runway near Ypsilanti en route to the tournament in Washington, D.C., leaving those aboard shaken but not seriously hurt. The Wolverines made it to D.C. the next morning, then won four games in a row.

Now it’s on to the second round Sunday against Louisville.

Friday’s game, played before a heavily pro-Michigan crowd, did not start as if it would be an offensive battle. The score was tied at 3 at the first TV timeout. But each team found its rhythm and Michigan led 41-40 at halftime.

Walton’s three-pointer made it 70-64 with 9:10 left, and another gave Michigan its biggest lead at 76-68 with 6:47 remaining.

But Oklahoma State hung around, forcing some tense moments for the Wolverines, who led by four before a three-pointer at the buzzer by Juwan Evans made it a one-point final.

There were 12 ties and 16 lead changes.

Evans led the Cowboys, who have lost five consecutive NCAA Tournament games, with 23 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.

D.J. Wilson had 19 points for Michigan and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zak Irvin scored 16 apiece.

Michigan was 11-for-15 on three-pointers in the second half, which — as Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood noted — is not easy to do in a gym by yourself.

Beilein, 64, could only acknowledge the signs of the times, and to adapt.

“I have evolved a lot as a coach, seen 43 years of a lot of change,” he said. “We continue to embrace being able to play downhill, but to do it with shooters as well.”



Baylor 91. New Mexico St. 73

USC 66, SMU 65

Duke vs. Troy

South Carolina vs. Marquette, late


Arkansas 77, Seton Hall 71

North Carolina vs. Texas Southern

Dayton vs. Wichita St.

Cincinnati vs. Kansas St.

Kentucky vs. N. Kentucky, late

UCLA vs. Kent St., late


Michigan 92, Oklahoma St. 91

Oregon 93, Iona 77

Louisville 78, Jacksonville St. 63

Creighton vs. Rhode Island

Kansas vs. UC Davis

Miami vs. Michigan St., late




West Virginia vs. Notre Dame

12:10 p.m., Ch. 2

Gonzaga vs. Northwestern

5:15 p.m., Ch. 2

Florida St. vs. Xavier

6:10 p.m., TNT

Arizona vs. Saint Mary’s

7:45 p.m., Ch. 2


Villanova vs. Wisconsin

2:40 p.m., Ch. 2

Florida vs. Virginia

8:40 p.m., TNT


Butler vs. Middle Tennessee

7:10 p.m., TBS


Purdue vs. Iowa St.

9:40 p.m., TBS


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