Purdue can’t keep up pace in loss to Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Even with a lead at halftime against No. 2 Michigan, Purdue probably had an uneasy feeling.
The rate of the Boilermakers’ 3-pointers likely was going to slow. They were having trouble containing the dribble. And they were getting virtually no production from their big guys (or guy).
Purdue hung in the game, but the superior Wolverines eventually took control for a 68-53 win on Thursday night at the Crisler Center, staking their claim to the No. 1 ranking after Duke’s loss. The Boilermakers (10-9, 3-3 Big Ten) led 33-32 at halftime, largely on the strength of 7-of-13 shooting from 3-point range. But they missed all nine of their shots from deep in the second half, when they shot 33.3 percent (8-of-24) overall and scored 20 points.
“They made it a lot tougher to find an open shot,” senior swingman D.J. Byrd said. “They were switching and really taking away the opportunities that we had in the first half. They made it difficult for us to get a good shot.”
Meanwhile, the Wolverines (18-1, 5-1) shot 53.8 percent (14-of-26) in the second half, including 4-of-6 from 3. Michigan used a 10-0 run, started and ended with a 3-pointer from Lake Central graduate Glenn Robinson III, to take a 49-40 lead with 11:55 left in the game.
After the Wolverines pushed their advantage into double figures, the Boilermakers scored six straight points, including a three-point play from freshman Rapheal Davis to make it 53-48 with 6:18 left. But Michigan answered with five straight points, including a basket from Chesterton’s Mitch McGary with 4:48 left.
“We just didn’t do a good job of handling adversity,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “Instead of being more patient once we got down, we started to press and we took too many ill-advised shots, and it caught up to us.
“I thought we should’ve been in a better position (at halftime). They called one defensive foul against Michigan in the first half, and we’re up one. That rarely happens. You get in a game where you’re not getting anything from your center and you’re not getting anything off the free-throw line — and neither were they.”
The Boilermakers didn’t shoot a free throw in the first half, and went 4-of-7 for the game. The Wolverines went 7-of-10.
Freshman center A.J. Hammons, who has been such an integral player for Purdue on both ends of the floor, was a non-factor on Thursday, with two points, matching a season low, and a season-low two rebounds.
“He just didn’t have a good game,” said Painter, who tried Travis Carroll, Sandi Marcius, and even Donnie Hale and Jacob Lawson together at one point. “He didn’t sprint a couple times to start the game initially, so that’s why I called that timeout (just 1:15 into the game), to try to get his attention. We just have to do a better job of being ready to play as a team.”
The Boilermakers, who made five 3-pointers in the game’s first 8:05, led by as much as 16-9 with 14:12 left in the half on a Hammons basket off a feed from Byrd. But such a lead was relatively short-lived.
“Going into halftime, on the road, we should’ve looked at it as if we were down 10,” junior guard Terone Johnson said.
Terone Johnson led the Boilermakers with 14 points, and Byrd added 11, all in the first half. Davis had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
All-American point guard Trey Burke had 15 points and eight assists for the Wolverines, and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 13 points. Robinson had 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds in 37 minutes, and fellow freshman Nik Stauskas also had 12 points.
McGary had six points and three rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench, and Crown Point graduate Spike Albrecht — two more freshmen — played seven minutes.
“Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway are not the same players (as last season). I think they’ve made some strides and matured as players, kind of doing a better job of picking their spots,” Painter said. “And they have two mature freshmen in Robinson and Stauskas; both of those guys do a good job of turning things down and just moving the basketball and kind of picking their spots. They have a really cerebral team, an efficient offensive team, and then they have physical play at the five, especially from a defensive standpoint. They just have a great mix.”