The strange Big Ten season continued with Michigan pulling out a critical, 77-76 overtime win at Purdue after falling behind by 19 in the first half. U-M started slowly, falling behind 7-0 with Nik Stauskas going to the bench early with a right arm injury after a spill, but continued to chip away to improve to 12-3 in Big Ten play.
Freshman Derrick Walton Jr. hit a huge triple to cut the deficit to four at the 17:34, and to the Michigan fans' relief, Stauskas returned after taking a two-minute breather. Glenn Robinson III followed a missed triple by making one of two free throws, making it 7-4 at the first TV timeout after both Walton and Stauskas missed wide open triples.
Ronnie Johnson tripled at the 15:40 mark to push the lead to six. It was 12-4 at 14:55, and the Wolverines were once again in a hole on the road. They were having a hard time getting good looks, and the ones they did get didn't fall. Stauskas missed an off balance triple and LeVert a straightaway three, and big man A.J. Hammons pushed the lead to 10 for the Boilermakers at 13:56 with two free throws.
Robinson ended a dry spell with a nice behind the back move and floater at 13:25. Still, U-M was only 2-for-11 after Stauskas missed in the lane, and Terone Johnson notched his eighth point with a triple to push the lead to 17-6. He'd averaged seven over his last three games coming in.
The Wolverines only managed six points at the 11:43 mark, and they looked bad doing it. Jon Horford missed an uncontested finish at 11 minutes to make matters worse. Freshman point guard Spike Albrecht missed a jumper and frosh Zak Irvin a wide open three to make it 2-for-14 for the Wolverines at 9:45.
Stauskas finally finished a reverse following a Johnson finish to make it 19-8 at 9:20, but Johnson notched points 11, 12 and 13 with another triple that made it 22-8. Ronnie Johnson followed two more misses, one from Stauskas and a blocked shot on Morgan, with a drive and finish to push it to 24-8, a stunning start.
It got worse when Terone Johnson hit another triple to make it 27-8 at 7:25.
U-M finally got something going in the next few minutes, ending a 20-6 run on a LeVert turnaround jumper and a finish by Stauskas in transition. Stauskas, though, missed a free throw that would have made it a three-point play, keeping it 27-12. At that point the Wolverines were 5-for-21 from the floor. Stauskas then missed an uncontested backdoor layup.
Michigan made a mini-run to get back in the game, starting with a Stauskas jumper. It was 29-19 after LeVert tripled, and it stayed that way headed into the final TV timeout.
The Wolverines stayed cold. Stauskas turned it over, and following a Hammons bucket, Jordan Morgan only managed one of two free throws. Ronnie Johnson scored his eighth and ninth points on a drive to the hoop.
U-M cut it to nine on a Morgan follow and had a chance to make it seven, but a poor pass in transition led to a turnover and a bucket at the other end. It was 37-24 at the break when Ronnie Johnson hit an uncontested 15-footer, a culmination of a horrible last minute for the Wolverines.
Michigan was 8-for-27 from the floor at the break. Stauskas notched eight points and LeVert seven for U-M.
LeVert drove but couldn't finish, and Robinson III missed on the offensive follow. Robinson opened the scoring with a 15-foot jumper to cut it to 11 at 19:00. Walton cut it to 10 with one of two free throws on a strong drive at 17:55.
Walton followed a Basil Smotherman finish with a triple that got it below 10, 39-30, but when he missed a triple in transition that would have cut it to six, Ronnie Johnson hit a 14-footer to push it back to 11. Morgan came up big with a putback on a follow after yet another Stauskas missed triple, but he missed an and-one free throw attempt.
U-M continued to play sloppy basketball, though, and still trailed by 11 at 14:14 until Robinson finished an alley-oop from Albrecht and Stauskas hit a jumper off the glass to make it 45-38 at 13:13. Irvin cut it to four, 45-41, on a triple in transition at 12:40, and then made two of three free throws to cut it to 45-43 at 11:42 after being fouled from the corner in transition.
Michigan's 12 offensive rebounds had kept the Wolverines in the game at that point. Stauskas had a chance to tie, but his airball at the 10:12 mark continued his struggles. He made one of two free throws on the next possession to cut it to one. At that point, U-M was only 10 of 17 from the line. Irvin then matched a Kendall Stephens triple to keep it a one-point game at 9:00.
Offensive rebounds, though, hurt U-M on the next two possessions. Hammons completed a three-point play on the second to make it 55-49 before LeVert tripled at 7:52 to cut it back to three. Purdue, though - a 65-percent free throw shooting team - continued to make their freebies. They were 11-for-11 to U-M's 10-of-17 at 6:30. It was 57-54 Boilers at that point, and they continued to work the offensive glass.
Michigan didn't go away. Robinson hit a long jumper at 5:35 to and Walton made one of two free throws to match Purdue buckets and keep it a four-point game at 5:04.
They couldn't keep it up. LeVert had a triple go in and out and Walton missed wide open from the corner. Purdue opened up a six-point lead, continuing to work the offensive glass and win the 50-50 balls.
It was a two-point game, though, at 63-61 when LeVert followed two free throws with a steal and finish at 2:20. Hammons fouled out on the following possession, sending Robinson to the line for a one-and-one. He made both to tie it.
Stauskas made two free throws at 55.7 to tie it again after Ronnie Johnson scored off the dribble. When Albrecht took a charge, the Wolverines had a chance to hold for the last shot, but Stauskas came up short on a long three.
Albrecht got a great look from the top but missed a triple; Stauskas, though, took it strong in transition on the second possession to open the scoring before Stephens countered with at triple at 4:10 to give Purdue a one-point lead. Morgan inside and Robinson in transition gave the Wolverines a three-point lead.
U-M stuck with Albrecht over Walton, and he found Morgan for a second time at 2:25 to push the lead back to three after a Boilermakers hoop. Two free throws, though, brought Purdue within one, and when Albrecht missed another wide open triple, followed by an over the back on Robinson and two more Stephens free throws, the Boilers were 15-for-15 from the line and held a one-point lead.
Morgan answered with another flush on a pass from LeVert at 1:25.
He came down with a huge rebound at 1:10. Stauskas, though, missed a lay-up finish at :40 to give Purdue one more shot.
Johnson made two free throws to make it 76-75 at 31.4. Stauskas missed on a drive, but when Stephens missed the front end at :12, U-M had one more chance. A lob to Robinson at 2.9 seconds resulted in an off balance bank from seven feet to give U-M the win.
Robinson led U-M with 17 points. Stauskas added 15 on only five-of-18 shooting, LeVert had 14 and Morgan 13 and 10 rebounds.