Defense leads Purdue past Michigan 64-51
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Rapheal Davis heard enough from Michigan’s players Saturday.
So the junior guard and his Purdue teammates decided to shut up the Wolverines by shutting them down.
The Boilermakers made an emphatic statement over the final 20 minutes, allowing just four baskets, 18 points and no offensive rebounds as they rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to pull away from the defending Big Ten champs 64-51.
”When we get into the locker room, that just amps us up,” Davis said of what he described as trash talk. ”You can hear it, so it just throws fuel on the fire.”
Wolverines guard Derrick Walton Jr. told reporters he didn’t recall hearing anything in the Mackey Arena tunnel at halftime. Yet Davis insisted he has heard terms such as ”got us” and ”game over” from each of Purdue’s last two opponents, Minnesota and Michigan.
Both times, Purdue (10-5, 2-0) responded with second-half comebacks.
Vince Edwards finished with 16 points and six rebounds to lead Purdue. A.J. Hammons had 12 rebounds and 15 points, falling just short of a season-high after the scorers erased a basket that had been tipped in by Michigan’s Aubrey Dawkins.
But Saturday’s turnaround was stunning for a different reason. Purdue had allowed its last four opponents to score 83.0 points and shoot 52.0 percent from the field. It looked like that trend might continue when Michigan (8-6, 1-1) went 6 of 11 on 3-pointers to build a 33-25 halftime lead.
Instead, Davis and his teammates clamped down on defense and cranked up the offense. Davis had seven points and six assists. Davis also held Caris LeVert – the Wolverines’ top scorer at 15.2 points – to six points on 2-of-8 shooting from the floor.
”They never quite got into a rhythm, but they’re one of those teams where they just need a couple of makes to get going,” coach Matt Painter said. ”That’s the scare when you play Michigan and that was our worry, especially in the second half when we started to get a lead, that they’d hit a couple of 3’s and that they’d really build off of that.”
Michigan never had a chance, shooting just 4 of 22 from the field in the second half as it missed 13 consecutive shots during a stretch that lasted nearly 13 minutes. Spike Albrecht scored 17 points, the only player to finish in double figures.
”We did not make shots, we did not defend the way we can defend and we certainly didn’t rebound the way we could, so that’s what you get,” Wolverines coach John Beilein said. ”You get what you deserve and we deserved that in the second half, to lose the game.”
After Zak Irvin’s jumper just 49 seconds into the second half, Purdue went on a 12-1 run to take a 38-36 lead. Michigan took it back when Walton hit three free throws.
It didn’t last. Edwards scored on a layup, Hammons completed a three-point play and Purdue seized control before sealing the win with a late 11-0 spurt.
Michigan: How bad was it for the Wolverines? They were outscored 39-18 in the second half, outrebounded 26-7 and had only two baskets in the first 18 minutes. And although It wasn’t the Wolverines’ lowest-scoring game, it may go down as their worst overall half this season.
Purdue: The Boilermakers suddenly look like comeback kids. Until Wednesday, they had lost 13 consecutive games when trailing at halftime. They ended that skid by rallying to beat Minnesota. That win also ended a three-game losing streak, and now the Boilermakers have won back-to-back games for the first time in a month.
Michigan’s Austin Hatch didn’t play Saturday, but he did have a small group of supporters behind him. The freshman guard, who survived two plane crashes, was one of four Indiana natives dressed in maize and gold. A team spokesman said Hatch had a ”handful” of family and friends at his first college game in his home state. Hatch did not talk to reporters after the game.
Michigan: Travels to Penn State on Tuesday.
Purdue: Visits No. 4 Wisconsin on Wednesday.