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Purdue shows spark but Michigan pulls away

ANN ARBOR MI - JANUARY 30:  Nik Stauskas #11 Michigan Wolverines drives ball basket as Terone Johns#0 Purdue Boilermakers

ANN ARBOR, MI - JANUARY 30: Nik Stauskas #11 of the Michigan Wolverines drives the ball to the basket as Terone Johnson #0 of the Purdue Boilermakers defends during the first half of the game at Crisler Arena on January 30, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

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Updated: January 31, 2014 2:44PM



ANN ARBOR, Mich. — With a little more than six minutes elapsed, walk-on Stephen Toyra checked into Thursday night’s game.

Less extreme, Purdue’s first big man off the bench in place of A.J. Hammons against No. 10 Michigan was senior Travis Carroll, not redshirt freshman Jay Simpson, who wound up not playing at all.

Whether Matt Painter was searching for simply any sort of a spark or trying to send a message — or both — it worked. Well, at least briefly.

The Boilermakers showed some spirit, but the Wolverines took control for a not-as-close-as-the-score-indicated 75-66 win at the Crisler Center.

Michigan (16-4, 8-0 Big Ten) continued its roll, winning its 10th straight game. After Purdue (13-8, 3-5) suffered its third straight loss for the first time this season, Painter spoke about the Boilermakers’ lack of patience, taking quick perimeter shots particularly against a quality opponent, as a prime reason for some early substitutions.

Michigan also shredded Purdue by shooting 60.9 percent from the field.

“I didn’t think that our defense was good enough. … We just didn’t defend well,” said Painter, whose team shot 43.1 percent from the field, but just 2-of-14 from 3-point range and 8-of-15 from the foul line.

Said sophomore point guard Ronnie Johnson: “They just hit some tough shots coming off ball screens. They use a lot of ball-screen action, and that’s where we lack defense. They took advantage of it.”

The Boilermakers — who lost despite outrebounding the Wolverines (32-30) and committing fewer turnovers (11, compared to 16) — fell to 0-4 against ranked teams (No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 9 Wisconsin) this season. They have lost 13 straight games against Top 10 opponents, dating to a 76-63 win against No. 2 Ohio State on Feb. 20, 2011 (when Purdue was ranked No. 11).

The Wolverines have won three consecutives games in the series with the Boilermakers, and four of the last five.

Nik Stauskas — showing his considerably improved all-around game, and why he is the frontrunner for the conference’s Player of the Year — had 16 points for the Wolverines. Caris LeVert had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Derrick Walton Jr. had 14 points.

Hammons had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Boilermakers, making several assertive moves — though he called himself out for his ball-screen defense. Bryson Scott had 12 points, and Ronnie Johnson 11.

Michigan led 18-8 with 11:39 left in the first half — shooting 4-of-5 from 3-point range to that point — before Purdue reeled off 11 straight points to forge a 19-18 edge at the 8:22 mark. Toyra — wearing a protective mask after suffering a broken nose in practice — scored the first basket of the run, off a nifty pass from Sterling Carter, and Ronnie Johnson scored the final five points.

But the Wolverines and their talent stabilized, taking a 37-29 lead into halftime, with the Boilermakers damaging themselves with a head-scratching sequence to close. With Terone Johnson on the foul line with 4.8 seconds left for a one-and-one, Hammons committed a lane violation; Walton then went coast-to-coast for a layup as time expired.

“That was my fault — both of them were my fault,” Hammons said, referring to the violation and the basket. “Coach told me to get back, but I wasn’t paying attention. I thought I could stop the ball, so that was on me.”

After the violation, Painter said he kept Hammons in the game to protect the rim; instead, Hammons didn’t hold his ground and allowed an angle to the basket.

“That was a key part for us; instead of being down four, we were down eight,” Painter said. “Then we didn’t have a good start to the second half.”

In the second half, Michigan extended its cushion to 15 points, before Purdue drew as close as eight. But the Wolverines again opened up a 17-point lead.

“That was tough,” Ronnie Johnson said when asked about the end of the first half. “When we make a run, we have to be able to keep the lead. We don’t do a good job of that also.”

Around the rim: When asked about Simpson, Painter said, “He has to learn just to carry out what he’s supposed to do on a daily basis. When he does that, then we’ll play him.” … Purdue has outrebounded or tied its opponent in that category (once) in 11 straight games. … The Boilermakers dropped to 22-19 at Crisler.



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