Despite Michigan trying to make things interesting in the waning minutes, Purdue escaped the Crisler Center following a game the Boilermakers controlled relatively early on. Matt Painter’s team tied it up at 20 around the 11-minute mark, took the lead at 31-28 with 7:22 left in the first half, and never looked back. Michigan hit a few improbable shots in the final minute to cut down what was a nine-point lead with 45 seconds remaining to a one-possession game with seven seconds left.
Michigan did get off to a hot start, at one point leading Purdue 13-7 (with all of the Boilers’ points coming from Zach Edey until Mason Gillis found Ethan Morton for three), but the six-point lead would end up being their largest of the evening. I particularly enjoyed the Morton three-point play as the Boilermakers, with their perimeter ball movement and off-the-ball movement inside, baited Michigan into this season’s bread and butter offensive strategy:
If you double team Edey, you’re leaving one of many very capable shooters wide open. Pick your poison. As the ball was fed near the free throw line to Gillis, Dug McDaniel, a 5’11” guard, felt it necessary to switch to Edey to help out Dickinson in the paint, giving Morton a clear shot from three point land.
One thing Michigan studied well in the film room watching Purdue escape Maryland: the full-court press does seem to throw the Boilermakers off their rhythm of typically surgical offensive basketball based on patience; this proved to be an issue both early on and when the Wolverines made a run in the game’s closing seconds. Purdue ended up turning the ball over 12 times, uncharacteristic of this team that typically takes care of the rock.
The Wolverines’ lead shrunk as Braden Smith hit two free throws and a driving layup, Trey Kaufman-Renn hit two consecutive buckets, and David Jenkins, Jr. assisted Brandon Newman to take things back to even at 20-20. It was back and forth for the next few minutes, but after Edey bodied up against Dickinson and hit a pivot foot jump hook just outside the paint to tie things up at 28-28 with 7:45 left, Michigan would never lead again.
A wide open three from Jenkins assisted by Morton makes it 31-28 and the train starts rolling.
Edey hits a farther-out-than-usual jump hook after a good evasive maneuver guarded by Dickinson. Loyer with his sticky hands intercepts a pass and runs it down the middle of the court, fooling two defenders for what looks like but is certainly not a routine layup. It’s 35-28.
A couple of free throws from Jenkins. Good ball movement, a good pick set by Edey, and a lucky roll from Loyer off the iron and it’s now 37-28. More lockdown defense forces a bad pass and Loyer intercepts another. Fouled. Hits both free throws like we’ve come to expect. All of a sudden, Purdue has taken a tightly contested game and turned it into what would be their largest lead of the night at 41-28.
Michigan would, however, score a few unanswered buckets to lessen the gap at to 41-35 at the half. It seems they play their best ball when there’s not much time left in a half, but we’ll get to that later.
The Wolverines’ Kobe Bufkin started off the second half on a tear, scoring nine quick points, but as the Boilers tightened up on D, the sophomore guard took some increasingly bad shots. After hitting a three to cut Purdue’s lead to 52-46, the last we’d hear from him was a layup ten minutes of game clock later.
Purdue again widened the lead to nine several times after some back-and-forth, but panic started to set in in the closing minute as the five on the court passed uncharacteristically sloppily, missed some shots inside, and the opposition all of a sudden was hitting everything they heaved toward the basket.
It proved to be too little too late for Michigan, however, as they had to resort to quick fouls following inbound passes to Loyer and Newman, who both hit each of their attempts of a one-and-one. It got weird in the last minute, but the Boilermakers played well enough to give themselves insurance points in that sort of off-chance scenario in which every shot from a team in desperation is hitting the bottom of the net.
Your scoring leaders:
Edey with 19, Loyer with 17, Smith with 10, Kaufmann-Renn and Jenkins with 8 apiece. Zach Edey is one rebound shy of continuing his double-double streak, but I think he’ll take the win.
Final score: Purdue 75, Michigan 70, and it probably should not have been that close. The top-ranked Boilermakers are now 20-1 on the season and 9-1 in Big 10 play. They’ll face Michigan State on Sunday for the two teams’ second meeting of the season at 12:15. The game will be broadcast on CBS.