Wow, what a game! What started as a bit of a rock fight turned into a complete shootout as Vince Edwards and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman decided in the second half to see who could top the other. The end result was a 92-88 Boilermaker win and a thoroughly enjoyable game for all who watched (well, maybe not Michigan fans).
The first half started off as most Michigan-Purdue games do. A back-and-forth affair with plenty of defense but relatively few fouls. Purdue was content to feed Isaac Haas (who almost killed a guy) while Michigan’s shooters kept Purdue’s defense rotating and getting some good mismatches and open looks. It was everything you would expect from a traditional B1G basketball game with Purdue holding a modest 41-36 advantage.
Then the second half happened. After Moritz Wagner initial 3-point miss, Michigan grabbed the offensive board and got a layup from it. Then, no one could miss. Over the next 9 minutes, there were a total of 4 missed shots. By the time the dust settled at the under-8 timeout, the teams had traded 3-pointer after 3-pointer and layups and hookshots, oh my! The game was knotted at 68.
Purdue decided they had had enough at this point and started a decisive 14-2 run which saw Michigan have three crucial turnovers while Purdue's shooters kept making shots. When it was all said and done, Purdue came out with what now appears to be a critical victory with Ohio State falling at home to Penn State.
The stats from this game are just gaudy. Michigan shot 60% from the field while firing 56.5% from downtown. Purdue, meanwhile, knocked down 62% of their shots and continued their hot streak from long range, shooting 55%. The difference, utlimately came at the stripe. When Michigan went into foul mode to try and extend the game, Purdue nailed their foul shots, making 9/10 in the final minute.
The takeaways from this game are fairly straightforward. Purdue collects a big win and protected the home court, now ahead of Ohio State by 1 in the loss column. Michigan, on the other hand, proved it can hang with the big boys on the road. As usual, John Beilein is fielding a tough team that's going to be an even tougher out come March.
But again, what a game.