Defense leads Boilermakers past Wolverines 64-51
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Vince Edwards scored 16 points, A.J. Hammons had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Purdue used a stifling defense in the second half Saturday to rally past Michigan 64-51.
The Boilermakers (10-5, 2-0 Big Ten) have won two straight since snapping a three-game losing streak. They also ended a four-game skid against the defending Big Ten champions by completely shutting down Michigan’s shooters.
At one point, the Wolverines (8-6, 1-1) missed 13 consecutive shots during a span of 12:47. The Wolverines finished 4 of 22 from the field in the second half.
Spike Albrecht was the only Wolverine to reach double figures with 17. Michigan’s top scorer, Caris LeVert, had six.
Michigan finished the first half with a 3-point flurry and a 33-25 lead.
But after Zak Irvin’s jumper with 19:11 left gave Michigan a 35-27 cushion, the Boilermakers seized control with an 18-4 spurt before Michigan made another basket.
For the Boilermakers, it was a complete turnaround from what’s been happening recently.
The previous four opponents were averaging 83.0 points and shooting 52.0 percent from the field. So when the Wolverines made 6 of 11 3-pointers in the first half, it looked like it would be more of the same.
Instead, Purdue adjusted by harassing Michigan’s perimeter shooters and putting more pressure on the ball in the second half. It worked.
Hammons’ 17-footer put Purdue in front 38-36 with 14:33 to go.
Derrick Walton Jr. answered with three free throws to give Michigan a brief 39-38 lead.
Edwards answered with the go-ahead layup and Hammons followed that with a three-point play.
After LeVert ended Michigan’s drought with 6:36 to go, Purdue pulled away with an 11-0 run. LeVert entered averaging 15.2 points but was 2 of 8 from the floor.
Michigan: The Wolverines weren’t just beaten in the second half Saturday – they were dominated. Michigan was outscored 39-18, outrebounded 26-7 and managed only two baskets in the first 18 minutes. It wasn’t the Wolverines’ lowest-scoring game, but it may go down as their worst overall half this season.
Purdue: Suddenly, the Boilermakers look like the comeback kids. They’ve rallied twice this week from halftime deficits to start 2-0 in conference play for the first time since 2011-12. Before Wednesday, Purdue had lost 13 in a row when trailing at the half.
Michigan: Travels to Penn State on Tuesday.
Purdue: Visits No. 4 Wisconsin on Wednesday.