Ann Arbor, Mich. -- Derrick Walton, Jr. scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half, including five points in the final 25 seconds, and Michigan converted on all 16 of its trips to the foul line as the Wolverines held off the Furman Paladins, 68-62, in the final non-conference contest of the regular season for both schools on Thursday night at the Crisler Center.
With Furman trailing 63-60 and under a minute to play, the Paladins' John Davis III penetrated down the baseline and skipped a pass to Geoff Beans in the corner for a game-tying trey. The shot, however was called off as Davis was whistled to have stepped on the baseline. Walton delivered the clinching shot on the Wolverines next possession, hitting a three-pointer from the left wing after his team had missed all 10 of its three-point attempts to that point in the second half.
Walton drained two free throws following Devin Sibley's missed three on Furman's next possession as Michigan improved to 10-3 on the season. The loss dropped the Paladins to 7-6 and ended Furman's three-game road winning streak.
Moritz Wagner netted a game-high 18 points for Michigan to go with a team-best six boards, while Zak Irvin and Walton added 16 and 13 points, respectively. The Wolverines committed just five turnovers and forced Furman into 13 miscues that led directly to 23 Michigan points.
Sibley connected on 6-of-11 shots from the field to pace the Paladins with 16 points. Matt Rafferty came off of the bench to add 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor and a 4-for-4 effort at the foul line, while Davis contributed 10 points, six boards and two assists.
The Paladins fashioned a 30-26 rebounding edge and shot 47.8% to Michigan's 43.6%. Furman connected on 13-of-16 free throw attempts, but the Wolverines 16-for-16 performance at the charity stripe was the best by a Paladin opponent since Davidson made 19-of-19 free throws versus Furman in January of 1963.
The Wolverines carried a 31-25 lead into the halftime break, but Furman opened the second half on an 11-0 run to grab a five-point lead. Davis and Kris Acox scored baskets to open the spurt before Sibley drained a three to put Furman in front 32-31. Another Sibley basket extended the lead to three points and Acox pushed the margin to five when he slammed home an alley-oop inbounds pass from Daniel Fowler with 15:54 to play.
Duncan Robinson and Walton scored back-to-back three-point plays to ignite a 14-4 Michigan run that gave the Wolverines a 47-42 advantage when Robinson converted a layup with 10:30 remaining. Consecutive baskets from Davis and Sibley trimmed the Michigan lead to 55-54 with 6:08 left in the half, but the Wolverines pushed the margin back to five points on a Walton basket and two free throws from D.J. Wilson. Furman was unable to get closer than three points the rest of the way.
The Paladins will take a full week off before hosting The Citadel in the Southern Conference opener at Timmons Arena on New Year's Eve, December 31, at noon.
Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information