Ann Arbor, MI – After a lackluster first game for Michigan’s Derrick Walton, he came out firing against Elon with a deep three on the game’s first possession. Elon’s Brian Dawkins quickly answered, but eventually the Wolverines pulled away early in the second half for a 88-68 win.
Until the final 5 minutes of the first half, both teams traded punches. Michigan used a diverse attack of pick and rolls facilitated by Walton and phenomenal ball movement leading to open threes.
Wolverine wing transfer, Duncan Robinson, was the beneficiary of several of these plays. He nailed three long balls in a row and finished off a fastbreak dunk after Walton threaded the needle between two Elon defenders.
Another Michigan wing made his return to the court following off-season back surgery. Former Mr. Basketball of Indiana, Zak Irvin showed no hesitation in jacking up his first open look. A handful of uncomfortable looking shots didn’t drop, but he showed the ability to put in on the floor and whipped a nice baseline pass to a wide open Robinson for three. Irvin would finish 0- for-5 from the floor.
In the first half, Elon was led by two bench players, freshman Guard Steven Santa Ana knocked down a couple threes and anticipated a pass from Michigan’s Walton leading to a fast break layup.
Guard Danian Swoope was the best player for Elon. He displayed a quick release on catch and shoot threes, and a tight handle as he split two defenders and drew a foul late in the half. What stood out the most was his off the ball hustle on offense and impressive effort on the boards for a six- footer. He finished with 15 points.
The second half went the Wolverines way quickly with a 7-0 run in two minutes essentially icing the game. Walton would continue to be on fire from long range and showed his best Chris Paul impression with a no-look alley-oop to forward Ricky Doyle. (He would’ve had another oop of the pick and roll in the first half, but Forward Mark Donnal wasn’t prepared for the pass.)
Walton would finish with 24 points with six threes, seven assists and six rebounds. He also harassed Elon guard Luke Eddy all night with very tight on-ball D and impressive screen dodging.
Michigan’s Robinson finished with 19 points on 6-for-6 shooting and fie made threes. The last few were contested as well.
Michigan’s third big man Mortiz Wagner drew a charge in the second half that left a nasty cut on his head. He showed some hockey toughness by returning to the game with a few minutes left and immediately snatched a rebound.
This article was written by Jack Vlasic, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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