INDIANAPOLIS – Derrick Walton Jr. stuck to the plan Friday.
He kept running the Michigan Wolverines offense against an aggressive Oklahoma State defense and eventually things fell into place. Again.
Walton scored 26 points and had 11 assists as the Wolverines made a school record 16 3-pointers in an NCAA Tournament game, getting past Oklahoma State 92-91 in the first round of the Midwest Regional.
“We haven’t played a team that got up into us in a minute. It’s hard to simulate that in practice,” Walton said.
“In the second half, I settled down. I wanted to make the right play consistently.”
Coach John Beilein had no complaints.
Seventh-seeded Michigan needed every point it could muster in a game that ended with a parade to the free-throw line, a buzzer-beating 3-pointer and a foe that refused to go away.
The difference: Poise and emotion, the same components that helped Michigan (25-11) overcome last week’s harrowing plane mishap to sweep four games in four days at the Big Ten Tournament.
But it looked like Michigan’s momentum was waning. The Wolverines looked out of sync and out of sorts in the first half.
But rather than change the game plan, Walton followed the script, steadied his team and the shots started going in.
While Michigan made only five shots inside the arc in the second half, it went 11 of 15 from 3-point range — drawing increasingly louder roars from the crowd and more bewilderment from first-year Cowboys coach Brad Underwood.
Walton wound up 6 of 9 on 3s, and Zak Irvin made four more in front of his hometown crowd. Irvin finished with 16 points.
“You go 11-for-15, that’s hard enough to do in a gym by yourself,” Underwood said. “We shot 55 percent in the NCAA Tournament and just lost in the first round, outrebounded an opponent 40-21 and you lose.”
For Michigan there was no victory celebration — only relief after winning the highest-scoring game in this year’s tourney.
The Wolverines have won six in a row and need one more to reach their first Sweet 16 since 2014.
Jawun Evans scored 23 points and Jeffrey Carroll had 19 to lead Oklahoma State (20-13), but the nation’s eighth-highest scoring team just couldn’t keep up with Michigan’s 3-point barrage.
The 10th-seeded Cowboys finished the season with four straight losses and haven’t won an NCAA game since 2009.
Michigan erased a six-point second-half deficit with a run of four 3s, the last from Walton with 12:28 to go to take a 62-61 lead.
The Wolverines made three more in another flurry to take a 76-68 lead with 6:47 to go.
Kansas 100, UC Davis 62
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Frank Mason III scored 22 points and had eight assists as top-seeded Kansas pounded No. 16 UC Davis, winning its opening game for an 11th straight year.
Louisville 78, Jacksonville St. 63
In Indianapolis, Mangok Mathiang scored 18 points and Deng Adel added 16 to help second-seeded Louisville pull away from No. 15 Jacksonville State.
Oregon 93, Iona 77
In Sacramento, with star big man Chris Boucher cheering in a bulky knee brace from the sidelines, Tyler Dorsey scored 24 points to lead four players in double figures, and No. 3 seed Oregon rolled past 14th-seeded Iona.
Rhode Island 84, Creighton 72
In Sacramento, Jeff Dowtin scored a career-high 23 points with a perfect day at the free-throw line and upstart 11th-seeded Rhode Island answered every threat by stunning cold-shooting No. 6 seed Creighton.
Michigan State 78, Miami 58
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Nick Ward scored 19 points to help No. 9 Michigan State atone for last season’s early tournament disappointment by beating eighth-seeded Miami.
UNC 103, Texas Southern 64
In Greenville, South Carolina, Justin Jackson broke out of a shooting slump with 21 points to help top-seeded North Carolina roll past No. 16 Texas Southern.
Kentucky 79, N. Kentucky 70
In Indianapolis, Bam Adebayo had 15 points and 18 rebounds as second-seeded Kentucky dispatched No. 15 Northern Kentucky.
UCLA 97, Kent State 80
In Sacramento, TJ Leaf scored 23 points, Thomas Welsh added 16 and third-seeded UCLA pulled away late for a victory over scrappy No. 14 Kent State.
Arkansas 77, Seton Hall 71
In Greenville, South Carolina, Jaylen Barford hit the go-ahead layup with 57.8 seconds left to help No. 8 Arkansas hold off ninth-seeded Seton Hall.
Wichita State 64, Dayton 58
In Indianapolis, Wichita State’s high-flying offense didn’t get off the ground until the closing minutes, when the 10th-seeded Shockers played like the more tournament-experienced team to hold off No. 7 Dayton.
Kansas State 75, Cincinnati 61
In Sacramento, Troy Caupain scored 23 points, Kyle Washington added 16 and defensive-minded, sixth-seeded Cincinnati shot its way past No. 11 Kansas State.
Duke 87, Troy 65
In Greenville, Grayson Allen had 21 points off five 3-pointers, Jayson Tatum had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and second-seeded Duke continued its perfect postseason by routing 15th-seeded Troy.
Jordon Varnado had 18 points to lead Troy, which made its first NCAA appearance since 2003. Baylor 91, NMSU 73
In Tulsa, Al Freeman came off the bench to score 21 points, and No. 3 seed Baylor defeated No. 14 seed New Mexico State.
USC 66, SMU 65
In Tulsa, Elijah Stewart hit a late 3-pointer for No. 11 seed Southern California as the Trojans upset sixth-seeded SMU.
SMU’s Shake Milton missed a floater at the buzzer.
South Carolina 93, Marquette 73
In Greenville, Sindarius Thornwell had 29 points and 11 rebounds to help seventh-seeded South Carolina win its first NCAA Tournament game in 44 years, eliminating No. 10 Marquette.