For the first time in a while on the road, Michigan started quickly. The Wolverines didn't sustain, though, after scoring the first five points, resulting in a blown lead, followed by a comeback from 12 down in the second half to keep Big Ten title hopes alive with an 80-75 win at Purdue.
Tim Hardaway Jr. continued his recent struggles, missing a lay-in and then the rim on a triple from the top before heating up, but the Boilermakers were lazy with the ball. That allowed the Wolverines to jump out to a 9-3 lead. Second chance points and Sandi Marcius inside vs. an over-helping U-M defense helped the Boilermakers stay close.
Michigan's jump shooters struggled in the first eight minutes. Both Hardaway and frosh Nik Stauskas missed great looks before freshman Caris LeVert bricked a wide-open triple at the 13:30 mark. U-M missed opportunities to expand its lead as a result despite five early Purdue turnovers.
The Wolverines started to rebound, however, and that led to a transition, three-point play by Hardaway. A Hardaway triple from the top made it 17-7 at the 12:30 mark; meanwhile, Marcius was the only Boilermaker to score in the first 10:42, notching all nine before Terone Johnson made two free throws to cut it to 21-11 at 9:18.
The Wolverines continued to play solid transition defense, but they continued to miss great opportunities to expand the lead. Freshman Glenn Robinson III missed a putback dunk and an alley-oop, and redshirt sophomore big man Jon Horford missed a short half hook in deep. U-M missed seven straight shots to allow Purdue to crawl within seven at 7:39.
Hardaway ended the streak with a triple to make it 24-14 at 7:15. U-M blew two coverages on the next two possessions that led to a pair of Purdue triples, sandwiched around another missed bunny by Stauskas.
The Wolverines then started to struggle on defense, leading to a number of good looks for the Boilermakers. One against the zone and five straight points in transition made it 28-27 at 3:20. An A.J. Hammons dunk and two Ronnie Johnson free throws put the Boilermakers up 31-28 at 2:30. Hardaway barely drew iron on a wide-open look that would have tied it, but Stauskas knocked down a long two to end a drought at 1:10.
Redshirt junior Jordan Morgan missed a lay-up and Purdue's Terone Johnson made a long triple from the corner just before the half to give the Boilermakers a 34-30 halftime lead.
Michigan shot only 33.3 percent in the first half. Hardaway scored 11 points, Stauskas five and Burke only four on 2-of-7 shooting in the half. Purdue closed the half with 25 points in less than 10 minutes.
Michigan scored the first four points of the half on a Robinson drive and finish and a Hardaway finger roll in transition. U-M, though, continued to struggle defensively with Marcius. A finish off a dish and a dunk when he was left alone helped expand the Purdue lead to 41-34 with 16:33 remaining.
It was 45-36 when Beilein turned to senior Matt Vogrich for a lift. Vogrich hit a triple from the corner and was fouled, but missed the free throw. The momentum was short lived when Vogrich lost Terone Johnson, leading to a three-point play to expand the lead back to nine. It was 11 when Johnson beat Vogrich again for a drive and finish at 12:45.
Johnson then beat Stauskas for another finish, and Stauskas missed a triple on the other end. Purdue took a 52-40 lead at 11:35, enjoying a 13-4 advantage on the glass.
Burke, meanwhile, wasn't himself. He struggled to finish, coughed up uncharacteristic turnovers and was missing the extra gear he usually has. Then he heated up. He hit a triple at 11:05 to cut the lead to 52-43, and then a two-point jumper to make it seven.
Hardaway gave up a drive and finish to push it back to nine, and Burke missed on the other end. Stauskas, though, finally hit a triple at 9:10 to cut it to 54-48. Burke and Robinson responded with four free throws, and just like that it was 55-52 at 7:45.
Purdue continued to outwork Michigan on the glass, aided in part by some poor hands, but the run continued when the Boilermakers went cold. Burke, continuing to heat up, finally put U-M up 59-58 with a short jumper at 5:15. U-M gave it back on the other end, though, allowing Ronnie Johnson to drive and finish. Burke answered with a steal and assist to frosh Spike Albrecht in transition, and Michigan led 61-60 at 4:05.
Hardaway, sidelined for several minutes in the second half, reentered and hit a huge triple with 3:40 left, but Terone Johnson (32 points) answered with a tough runner to tie it. Stauskas then drove and hit a pair of free throws after a foul, and then a triple from the corner to put Michigan up 69-64 at 2:27.
It was 71-66 at 2:00, setting up a fight to the finish.
Purdue's D.J. Byrd hit his first triple to cut it to two, but the Boilermakers would get no closer. Big plays by Burke, frosh Mitch McGary and Stauskas helped keep U-M a step ahead despite Terone Johnson's heroics. The Wolverines scored on seven straight possessions, and Burke made five out of six free throws down the stretch to give the Wolverines an 80-75 win. Michigan will now have a chance to share the Big Ten title with a win over Indiana Sunday.
Burke led U-M with 26 points and seven assists while Hardaway added 16 and five rebounds in the victory.
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