Purdue’s Matt Painter found himself in a double overtime chess match against Juwan Howard and the Michigan Wolverines on Thursday night at Crisler Center, which was his first taste of the matchup between two teams with the first year head coach.
Howard got the better of this matchup, rallying his team from a deficit in the second half and riding out his senior leadership in Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske to a 84-78 win in double overtime.
Painter was asked after the game about Howard’s background and what he sees from him after spending so many years in battle against John Beilein’s version of this Michigan program.
“He’s a good basketball guy,” Painter said. “He’s been around basketball... so have I. Obviously, coming from Chicago and playing here, playing in the NBA (for) 18 years and the people he’s been around with the Miami Heat. They’ve got one of the best organizations in the NBA. Being around Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra. So he’s worked hard. Good for him. If I didn’t play basketball at Purdue, I wouldn’t be sitting here. If he didn’t play basketball at Michigan, he wouldn’t be coming up here after me. You gotta work hard and you’ve gotta be in the right spot in the right time.
“I got the job at Southern Illinois because we worked hard and we won and I was in the right spot at the right time and then Purdue came open a year later and I was fortunate. I was very fortunate. There’s a lot of guys that can coach that don’t get the opportunities that we’ve gotten. So you’ve gotta be grateful for it and make the most of it. It’s hard. It’s hard when you got 14 teams, 14 team presidents, 14 athletic directors and 14 boards of trustees that think we all should go to the NCAA Tournament, that we all should win the league and it doesn’t work that way. It gets real, real competitive and you’ve gotta make the most of it. Michigan’s a great school, it’s great academics and he understands that. I think he’ll do great.”
Michigan and Purdue are no strangers to these tight contests and Purdue gets another crack at the Wolverines on Feb. 22 when these two match up again in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Next up for the Wolverines is a road trip to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, which will tip off Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network.