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Hutton: Perfect ending for Glenn Robinson III in emotional win

Michigan forward Glenn RobinsIII right is hugged by teammates Spike Albrecht left Caris LeVert after hitting game-winning shot as time

Michigan forward Glenn Robinson III, right, is hugged by teammates Spike Albrecht, left, and Caris LeVert after hitting a game-winning shot as time expired in overtime against Purdue in an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind., Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. Michigan defeated Purdue 77-76. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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Updated: March 28, 2014 9:04AM



WEST LAFAYETTE — Well, that was just perfect, wasn’t it?

The school that orphaned Glenn Robinson III. The school that turned its back on one of its own — the week after the Boilers honored his father, Glenn Robinson, for being one of the greatest players in the history of Purdue — was burned by the younger Robinson, who got to dance out of Mackey Arena, bumping shoulders with teammate Spike Albrecht.

Robinson, a Lake Central graduate, got to embrace his father in the tunnel of Mackey Arena after his twisting, leaping buzzer-beater rolled through the basket, giving Michigan a 77-76 overtime victory. He turned the Purdue crowd, primed for an upset over the Big Ten’s first-place team, into mush.

He got to do it in front his mother and his brother, Gelen, a soon-to-be Boilermakers football player. This was the kind of chest-thumping moment, in private, that Robinson can savor forever.

The Boilers didn’t offer Robinson a scholarship because they had used up theirs by the time he was good enough to join the team. Those are the kinds of slights that high-level athletes motivate themselves with in an empty gym early in the morning, when they are throwing up jump shots. Robinson is too classy, too decent a kid to turn this into something highly personal in an overt way.

But it was, and is, personal, and always will be. He would’ve gone to Purdue if the Boilers had shown interest. If they had really tried to recruit him. If they weren’t among the doubters. But they didn’t. It’s all history now — except for the score. Robinson is 3-0 against the Boilermakers, with one game winning shot at Mackey.

“It’s a great win for us and my teammates,” he said. “My teammates know how much this meant to me, especially because my dad played here and me being from Indiana.”

Give Michigan coach John Beilein for putting both Robinson and Albrecht in a position to flourish for a game that he knew they were emotionally pumped up for.

He called Robinson’s number for the last play because he realized Robinson knew exactly where he was and what it meant to him.

“I’m happy, especially for Glenn and the way he played,” Beilein said.

“This game always means a lot to him. It’s got a lot of emotion in it.”

With 2.9 seconds left, the Wolverines executed a play they had worked on over and over again in practice.

Caris LeVert threw a lob pass from the sideline by the Michigan bench to the opposite side of the rim. Robinson out-leaped Raphael Davis, grabbed the ball — which looked like it was too high for a brief second — came down, jumped up and threw an eight-footer off the backboard. Davis’ hand was firmly planted in front his face when he released the shot.

The ball stayed on the rim for what seemed like an eternity before it trickled through.

“I was just praying that it would go in,” Robinson said.

“Heartbreaking,” Purdue’s Ronnie Johnson said of the loss.

Say this about Michigan. The Wolverines are a tough-minded bunch. They opened up the game looking listless and disinterested, trailing by 19 with 7:43 left in first half. They clawed back into the game, tying it for the first time with 1:54 left on a pair of free throws by Robinson.

In overtime, before Robinson hit the game-winner, it was the Albrecht-Jordan Morgan show. Morgan had three dunks. Two of them came off Albrecht assists when Purdue players came out to chase him. Albrecht, a Crown Point graduate, finished with two points, four assists and two steals in 21 minutes. One of those assists was an alley-oop to Robinson in the first half that he cradled and dunked.

Robinson and Albrecht can relive this moment for the rest of their lives. They both have rejection stories to share. Only one other Division I team, Appalachian State, offered Albrecht a scholarship after he went to prep school. Beilein saw something almost no one else did.

The two of them, along with Mitch McGary, have turned Michigan into a potential pipeline for Northwest Indiana players. They are both happy to have someone that believes in them. And they play like they have something to prove, especially when Purdue is the opponent.

Yes, you could say it all worked out perfectly in the end.



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