Michigan Outlasts The Boilermakers

After a weeklong layoff following a disappointing loss at Illinois, the Michigan basketball team was anxious to get back on the court. At 3-4 and in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten race, a loss to Purdue would put them on the outside looking in not only in the Big 10 conference race, but for an NCAA bid as well. The <strong>63-62 win</strong> today keeps them in the hunt for both.<br><br> <b>**Game Photos Included**</b>

As has been the case in seemingly every game this year, Michigan started out by pounding the ball down low with Courtney Sims for 2. Daniel Horton had the hot hand early as well, knocking down his first bucket from 3-point range to push Michigan to a 5-0 lead. The Wolverines held the lead around that margin until Purdue’s Melvin Buckley went on a short tear at about the midway point. Down 13-6 with 12:07 to go, Buckley ignited a 13-2 Boilermaker run with a three-point basket. The sophomore forward was responsible for 11 of the points during the run, which included three 3-pointers, to help give the visitors a 19-15 lead with 10:19 left in the half. The Wolverines halted the run and regained the lead on a 3-pointer by Dion Harris and a free throw from Courtney Sims. Bernard Robinson Jr, who lead the Wolverines in the first half with 7 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists, would give the home team the lead again on a jumper with 6:21 to go. The freshman continued to come up big down the stretch in the first half with Brent Petway going 4/4 from the line and Courtney Sims knocking down a short jumper to help Michigan to a 35-30 lead at the intermission.

Bernard Robinson Jr. nails the jumper!

Purdue came out of the locker room and tried to seize the momentum early, but Tommy Amaker’s bunch responded in a big way. They turned up the defensive intensity and went on a 17-4 run to grab hold of a 16 point lead, 54-38, at the 12:11 mark. Daniel Horton was huge during the stretch netting eight of the points on a variety of jumpers and playing tremendous on the ball defense. Unfortunately, his efforts seem to take a lot out of him over the remaining minutes. The Cedar Hills sophomore went cold and the rest of his teammates couldn’t muster much offensively to compensate. The maize and blue went without a single field goal over the next ten minutes, scoring only 3 points on free throws during that time. The Boilermakers, on the other hand, started to hit everything! Despite good defense on a number of occasions, the visitors scored 19 points over the same stint to tie it up at 57 with 1:56 to go. Horton said that one of the team’s goals was to be strong in the second half. “That's one thing we haven't done this season,” Horton said. “We wanted to increase our halftime lead and I think we did a good job of that. We let up and allowed them to get back into the game, but you have to give them credit, they fought hard the entire second half.” Horton, however, would re-apply the pressure on the opposition.

Tommy Amaker lets the ref know about a few blown calls

After missing his last four shots, all from behind the three-point line, Horton knocked down a huge triple with 1:38 remaining to regain the lead, 60-57. Purdue answered at the other end with a couple of free throws to tie it, but Horton knocked down another big jumper in the lane to put Michigan back out front by 3 with 53 seconds to go. Knowing Michigan had struggled from the free throw line this year, Gene Keady instructed his team to foul. After rebounding a Boilermaker miss, Courtney Sims was fouled, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1. The visitors capitalized by converting a couple of free throws and followed that up by fouling Horton with 19 seconds left on the clock. Unfortunately, he too missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Purdue’s Brandon McKnight almost became the hero when he knocked down a short jumper on the other end to give Purdue a 62-61 lead with 7 seconds remaining, but it wasn’t to happen on this day.

Daniel Horton with the jumper!

Daniel Horton flew down court and hoisted a jumper in transition, but it fell short. Courtney Sims had established excellent position under the basket and grabbed the carom, but his stick back rolled out. For a split second it seemed like the game was over, but Sims followed his own miss, but this time he converted it to give UM the lead 63-62! Time expired and the refs reviewed the play to ensure that the shot came before the end of regulation. They determined that it did indeed come in time, but that 1.4 seconds should be put back on the clock. The Boilermakers tried a length of the court play with the newly allotted time, but to no avail. The Wolverines held on for the 63-62 win. Coach Amaker had praise for both Horton and Sims after the final play. “He (Horton) did exactly what he is coached to do,” Amaker said. “Push the ball up the floor and try to catch the defense on its heels. Daniel's first shot was short, but that is typical of that play, so a majority of the time it is the second basket which wins the game and Courtney hit that basket for us today.”

Courtney Sims goes for the steal

On the game Michigan was led by Horton with 19 points and 5 assists, Sims with 11 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocks, and Robinson Jr. with 11 points and 10 rebounds. David Teague led the Boilermakers with 14 points and 7 rebounds. For more on the game, click the following links: (boxscore, notes, quotes).

Michigan’s next game will come on the road versus the Minnesota Golden Gophers Wednesday night at 8pm.

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