This game was a 'primer' for this young but talented Wolverine team: streaks of dazzling guard play on both sides of the court, followed by streaks of taking too-quick shots from 3-point land. And streaks of dominatingly-athletic inside play followed by streaks of being outmuscled in the front court.
This time, against a tough Big Ten opponent, the good outweighed the bad.
The first half was hard fought and well-played by both teams, with Michigan taking a 35-30 lead in the the locker room. At times in the opening stanza the Wolverines were outmuscled by the veteran Purdue team, as Purdue's eight first-half offensive rebounds attested. It didn't help the Wolverines cause that their strongest interior player, played hampered by a thumb injury. But Michigan countered by using its athleticism to apply high pressure defense, forcing the Boilermakers into eight first half turnovers -- it's season whole-game average. And Michigan spread out the first half scoring load well, with Daniel Horton, Bernard Robinson Jr, and Courtney Sims recording seven each.
The second half was a game of two big streaks. After Purdue hit the first two baskets of the half, Michigan went on their big run. Led by Dion Harris' and Sims' play on both side of the court, Horton's shooting, and four more Boilermaker turnovers, Michigan outscored Purdue 19-4 to run out to a 54-38 lead at the 12 minute mark.
And then things changed 180 degrees! Michigan started shooting -- and missing -- quick three-poointers ("Slow down!" Head Coach Tommy Amaker was heard to yell at Harris after a bad shot. "Pass the ball!"). The Wolverine went from the 12 minute mark all the way to the 1:35 mark with only 3 free throws to its credit. Purdue went on a 19-3 run -- and with 1:35 to go it was all knotted up at 57-57.
Then Michigan's backbone stiffed again. Horton hit a three-pointer, and, after two Purdue free throws, a two-pointer. 62-59 with 55 seconds to go. But then Purdue hit a basket with 29 seconds to go, and then, with just 7 seconds to go they hit another! 63-64 Purdue. Michigan quickly brought down the court but Daniel Horton missed his shot! Courtney Sims tipped it -- miss! And then quickey tipped again -- this time it was GOOOOOD with 1.4 seconds to go! Victory Michigan, 64-63!
Daniel Horton led the Wolverine with 19 points And Courtney SIms recorded his first college double-double with 11 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots.
Michigan goes to 13-6 now, and to 4-4 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines hope to get over .500 in league play with its next game -- Wednesday night at last place Minnesota (0-8, 8-12).
Michigan Rebounds Against The Boilermakers
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