After Isiah Livers grabbed the rebound and tossed it up the court to Charles Matthews, the four Boilermakers seniors watched as his heave from just inside the half court line floated towards the rim, seemingly on target, knowing their last chance for a win in the Crisler Center hung in the balance.
The ball ricocheted off iron. Then glass. The Boilermakers won. The seniors check off one of their pre-season goals. Get their first W Ann Arbor after two heartbreaking defeats to the Wolverines last year.
The Boilermakers pulled out the thriller, 70-69, after dominating most of the early game. It took a little bit from everyone to prevent yet another collapse at Michigan.
Despite an early double-digit lead for Purdue, Michigan kept fighting back. The Wolverines tied the game for the first time at the 7:29 mark on a Charles Matthew 3-pointer. To make matters worse, shortly after, Dakota Mathias would leap out of bounce after a ball. His forehead bounced hard off the floor, cutting his brow, and leaving his face bloody. In Boilermaker fashion, he barely missed a minute of playing time.
After trading 3’s, the Wolverines would take their first lead of the game with 4:40 on the clock after Purdue’s season long struggles on the glass reared its head. A Mo Wagner free throw miss was tipped out and an open 3-pointer from Muhammad Ali-Abdur Rahkman would give Michigan the 64-61 lead.
Purdue then went to their sophomore phenom, Carsen Edwards, who came up with big shot after big shot. He scored 19 points, knocking down 4 of his 6 3-pointers.
But mixed in between the sophomore sensation, Purdue leaned on two of their seniors to make two huge plays. Vincent Edwards would tie the ballgame back up coming off a screen and curling into an open 3-point shot at 69-69 with 2:33 to play.
From there, the game would be scoreless. Both teams stymied the other offenses. With 6.2 seconds left, Dakota stripped Charles Matthews on a drive to the hoop. The initial play looked and was called out on Purdue. After a length review, the officials decided the ball had stayed on Matthews hand and gave Purdue the ball.
After Michigan’s sixth team foul on Carsen Edwards around half court, Coach Painter drew up an inbounds play that got Haas in the post. Mo Wagner fouled the center on the catch and Haas would make the first and miss the second free throw. But the half-court heave by Matthews bounced point-less off the rim and the number-5 team in the country gets out of Anna Arbor with their 12th straight win.
Purdue now joins Ohio State on top of the B10 standings and grabs a marquee road win against an up and coming Wolverines team.
Dakota Mathias started off the game looking aggressive. He scored all 14 of his points in the first half. The Boilermakers struggled to score in the second half as a team, but they shot the ball well from distance and it saved them. Vincent Edwards made both his 3-point attempts to get to 10 points. PJ had 6 points, making his only two field goal attempts. Isaac Haas alone offered inside scoring, scoring 17 points, making half of his 14 shot attempts.
The only four bench points for Purdue came on back to back offensive rebound put-backs by Nojel Eastern.
Michigan had four players score in double-digits, but Purdue was able to limit their clean looks. Zavier Sampon led the way for Michigan with 15 points.
Purdue will have another tough road test Saturday as they now look towards a match-up against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.