ANN ARBOR, MI — The Michigan Wolverines (11-4, 2-2 B1G) hosted the Purdue Boilermakers (9-7, 2-3 B1G) at Crisler Center on Thursday evening and walked out 84-78 winners in double overtime following a tough loss at Michigan State on Sunday.
Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske put the Wolverines on their backs in this one with the senior point guard finishing with 20 points and nine assists, while his senior center and fellow captain had 18 points and nine rebounds in the contest. Franz Wagner chipped in with 15 points and five rebounds of his own. Purdue big man Trevion Williams had a career night with 36 points and 19 rebounds and abused the Wolverines throughout the evening.
Michigan went into the locker room up 32-28 at halftime over the Boilermakers despite shooting only 3-for-12 from beyond the arc and forcing 11 Purdue turnovers. These two teams have been known for some shootouts over the years, but both struggled offensively throughout the night and this was an old-fashioned Big Ten rock fight. But for the first 20 minutes of play, Michigan found itself on the good side of it even without one of its stars offensively.
The second half saw things turn in favor of the Boilermakers despite Matt Haarms missing the final 20 minutes with an apparent injury. Purdue took the lead back around the 15 minute mark of the second half and led for much of the period, but Michigan was able to get a bit more going offensively when switching to a smaller lineup of Simpson, David DeJulius, Eli Brooks, Wagner and Teske. They would trim the lead to 51-49 with about seven minutes to play. Teske would hit a basket from just inside the three-point line to tie the game at 53, which is where things would stand with four minutes to play.
Michigan took a 58-57 lead late, but the Boilermakers took the lead back on a Williams’ desperation three that went through as the shot clock expired. It was only his second made three-pointer of the year and it gave Purdue a 60-58 lead before Simpson answered with a layup of his own to tie it at 60 in the last minute of the game. A goaltend on Teske awarded another two points to Williams and it would put Purdue back out in front. Simpson answered with another layup to tie at at 62-all with 15 seconds to play. Williams missed at the buzzer, which sent us to overtime.
The two teams, namely Simpson and Williams, traded a few buckets in overtime and we went to double overtime with the two squads tied at 68 points each. A layup and made free throw from Teske followed by a cold-blooded triple from Simpson gave the Wolverines a 74-68 lead in the second overtime. Wagner would make a three to put Michigan up nine followed by four quick points from Purdue. DeJulius hit a jumper to put the Wolverines up seven at 79-72 with a minute to go in 2OT to help seal the victory for Michigan with the final score at
- With Livers out for the third-straight game, Michigan once again was all out of sorts offensively and struggled from the perimeter throughout the night. He slimmed down over the summer to be able to take on a bigger load offensively because he knew how important he was going to be and now you’re seeing that with him not on the court. If I had to guess, the earliest we could see him back is potentially for the Iowa game next Friday night.
- Kudos to Simpson and Teske for stepping up when the team needed them down the stretch. Both guys made just about every single play that needed to be made late in regulation and in both overtimes. It may not have been two of their most impressive individual performances at Michigan, but you can make the argument that it was two of their most important and clutch performances.
- Juwan Howard told the media on Wednesday that he wanted to help Wagner get his footing a bit more and he looked a bit more aggressive in this game on Thursday night. He is certainly still feeling his way through college basketball in the United States, but his development moving forward and ability to be a factor offensively are critical to this team’s postseason chances. The shot looks a little funky at times but you can see the potential there.
- Michigan was forced to go with the smaller lineup and not only did it work, but they rode out the rest of the game with it. Wagner at the 4 is something that they have said he is capable of doing but have not pulled out all that much. DeJulius is one of Michigan’s best five players with Livers out and he may even be when he’s back as well.
- Michigan is going to need more from Brooks on the offensive end of the floor. He scored four points on the night and a lot of times he was hard to notice out there. DeJulius has played better recently of late and it will be interesting to see what happens with the distribution of minutes when Livers returns.
- Howard said after the game that Williams went off because Michigan elected to not double team him, which he cited as a stubborn coaching decision as opposed to a problem with Teske’s defense. Big Ten centers going off against Michigan has been a habit and much of it has to do with their philosophical approach to not double team so as to prevent outside shooters from having wide open shots. They seem content with the bigs getting theirs against them, but it has burned them a handful of times this season.
Next up for the Wolverines is a trip to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. That game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET tipoff on Big Ten Network.