clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Michigan 77, Purdue 76: Whatever It Takes

Michigan traveled to West Lafayette for a contest that didn't scream "trap game" but at least expressed it in a normal, inside voice.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Things didn't start off on the best terms for Michigan.

On the first offensive possession, Nik Stauskas drove hard and launched a wild shot that was way off--he then had to leave the game with what appeared to be a wrist issue. Michigan threw in into the backcourt on the next possession, then got swatted on the next.

A quick look at the scoreboard and it was already 7-0 Purdue. Luckily for Michigan, a Derrick Walton Jr. triple stemmed the tide for a moment. Regardless, the Wolverines once again got off to a slow start, only this time they'd have to bounce back without the Crisler Arena advantage.

Michigan fans could breathe once again, as Nik Stauskas reentered the game shortly thereafter. He missed a three, but seem to be all right, at least as far as the wrist was concerned.

Assisted by Michigan's 1-for-10 start from the field, the Boilers' lead ballooned to 14-4, then 17-6 by the 12-minute media timeout.

Something about playing in the state of Indiana this Big Ten season has sapped the Wolverines' ability to make a shot--in this one, a 2-for-14 start put Michigan in catch-up mode.

Meanwhile, Terone Johnson couldn't miss. The older Johnson had 13 points 11 minutes into the game. After seven straight points from the Johnsons, Purdue led 24-8, with everything going their way.

And so Michigan fans sat and waited for the pendulum of regression to the mean to swing its way back toward the Wolverines, who couldn't hit anything and couldn't stop Terone Johnson from hitting anything.

Purdue's lead jumped to 19, at 27-8. Michigan was reeling, to say the least.

Somehow, however, the Wolverines clawed back to make it 29-19, but eventually took a 13-point deficit into the half. All things considered, Michigan escaped with a vaguely palatable final score to the first half.

Three minutes into the second half, Walton knocked in his second triple of the game to make it 39-30, Purdue. Michigan was having a rough day from the field, Walton's stroke from beyond the arc looked pure.

But every time Michigan cut it to nine, Purdue seemed to have an answer. Stauskas finally cut it to seven with a pretty off-the-backboard jumper at the 13:23 mark, forcing a Purdue timeout.

Out of the timeout, Zak Irvin poured in his first points of the game with a corner three, cutting the deficit to four. They eventually cut it to two, and Michigan was no longer in catch-up mode: now, it was time to #WinTheGame.

The two squads traded buckets for a stretch, but the Boilermakers brought it back to six with a few minutes to play. Catch-up mode: reengaged.

Four straight LeVert points got Michigan to within two with just over two to play and two Glenn Robinson III free throws after a PU turnover tied it at 63-all.

Spike Albrecht made the biggest defensive play of the game, taking a charge with 30 seconds left to give Michigan a chance to win it with the shot clock off.  Stauskas attempted a three from Indianapolis that fell off the work, and to overtime it went.

The Wolverines grabbed the early lead in the OT period, assisted, literally, by Spike Albrecht--Michigan's first three buckets of the period were assisted by the sophomore point guard.

But Purdue kept attacking and kept making trip after trip to the charity stripe. Purdue gained a 76-75 edge, but Kendall Stephens missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 12 seconds to go.

Michigan brought it up the floor then called timeout with just under three seconds left. With the game on the line, Caris LeVert threw a ridiculous inbound pass to GRIII, who took one dribble, glided through the air and knocked the game-winner off the glass and in, likely sending paroxysm of confusion through his father.

It wasn't pretty and Michigan got the benefit of a questionable call or two. There was no reason for Michigan to have been struggling that much against a Purdue team like this.

When all is said and done, the schedule will say this was a win--because that's what it was. Some wins are about flexing your muscles. This was not one of those. But there are no asterisks or disclaimers: a win is a win is a win, the only absolute truth in college basketball.