No. 20 Michigan 66, Purdue 64
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP)
Michigan has aspirations of winning a Big Ten title, but the Wolverines know they can't do it if they don't win on the road.
Finally, they got one.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 19 points to help No. 20 Michigan defeat Purdue 66-64 on Tuesday night.
Michigan guard Trey Burke said the Wolverines heard the doubters, especially after a loss at Arkansas on Saturday.
''Coming off a tough loss to Arkansas, obviously, some tougher losses on the road earlier in the season, a lot of people were questioning if we could get a win on the road,'' he said. ''We stayed together in the second half, and it was good for us to get that win.''
Michigan coach John Beilein said he wouldn't be picky about wins.
''It's a relief to win another game,'' he said. ''I don't dwell on it. I respect everybody who understands it's a difficult thing. Only the great, great teams can win on the road continually.''
Jordan Morgan had 12 points and seven rebounds, Stu Douglass scored 12 points and Evan Smotrycz added 10 points for the Wolverines (16-5, 6-2), who entered the game in a tie for first place in the league. Michigan shot 54 percent from the field and outrebounded the Boilermakers 30-23.
''We have to be a better defensive team,'' Purdue coach Matt Painter said. ''We have to be more consistent, we have to contain the dribble better, just have more discipline. I think at times we make improvements at stretches, and then we have just absolute breakdowns.''
Hardaway was the most difficult player for Purdue to contain. He made 8 of 15 shots.
''You can see that he's getting more comfortable with physical play,'' Beilein said. ''His body's changed. He made a couple of muscle plays inside. When you can get into the lane against Purdue, it's really hard. He got there a few times, just enough to give us a few extra points.''
Michigan led 65-64 and had the ball in the final minute, but Jackson stole the ball from Morgan. Purdue's Ryne Smith missed a 3-pointer from the right corner but came up with the ball in a scramble. Hummel missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 12 seconds left, and Michigan got the rebound.
''The last good look we got, Lewis did a great job penetrating, pitched it back to me, which is basically what the play was,'' Hummel said. ''Great look, I just didn't knock it down. I was basically wide open, so Lewis did 100 percent what he was supposed to do, and unfortunately, I didn't.''
Jackson said his confidence in Hummel is unchanged.
''I would do that play 100 more times,'' he said. ''The shot just didn't fall. We all know Rob's a great shooter. I don't regret the way it happened. If Coach called that again, no second-guessing. It goes in next time.''
The Wolverines ran the clock down to 3.8 seconds before the Boilermakers fouled Smotrycz. He made the first and missed the second free throw, and Jackson's heave from near midcourt bounced off the backboard.
Hummel didn't take a shot for more than 12 minutes at the start of the game, but he got hot at the end of the first half. He scored Purdue's last seven points before the break to cut the Wolverines' lead to 30-28.
Michigan started strong in the second half. Baskets by Hardaway and Zack Novak pushed the lead to 39-31 with 17:01 to play.
Michigan led by 10 points before the Boilermakers rallied. A 3-pointer by Smith and a basket by Johnson cut Michigan's lead to 44-39 and forced the Wolverines to call a timeout.
A 3-pointer by Byrd and a three-point play by Anthony Johnson gave Purdue a 49-47 lead.
Burke scored to tie the game at 61 and set up the final 3 minutes.
Purdue, which was coming off an 83-58 loss to No. 10 Michigan State, has lost two of its past three at home after a 26-game home winning streak. In both losses, the Boilermakers struggled early.
''We just need to do a better job of starting games, getting off on the right track,'' Painter said. ''You go back, you watch film, you try to watch your previous games and try to figure it out. We're just a slow-starting team, and hopefully, we can correct it.''
Beilein said his team is starting to understand what it takes to be a contender.
''We are learning how to make less mistakes and play better, and realize the degree of error is so small,'' he said. ''Whether it's a home game or a road game, I think there's a correlation.''
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cliffbruntap