Wolverine Hoopsters Rally Past Boilermakers

On Saturday, the Michigan men's basketball team returned home to Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor for the conference home opener against the Purdue Boilermakers. In the contest, Michigan would need a strong second half performance to overcome a five-point halftime deficit in a 68-65 victory. With the win, the Wolverines improve to 11-2 on the season and 1-1 in Big 10 play.

At the opening of Saturday's game, it looked like it was going to be an easy Michigan victory. After winning possession of the jump ball, Purdue threw the ball away into the hands of Jerret Smith for an easy Michigan basket. The Wolverines would climb on top 5-0 before Purdue could score.

However, at that point, the visiting Boilermakers would counter with a 22-10 run to give Purdue their largest lead of the game at 22-15 behind a three-point basket by Marcus Green and a three-point play from Marcus White.

"We were trying to guard against a team that had nothing to lose. Psychologically, we thought that it was going to be the edge they would have against us and they certainly showed that," said Michigan's head coach Tommy Amaker after the game. "Also, give our kids a lot of credit for battling back and finding the way. We showed a lot of heart and desire there to dig one out and we so sorely needed this for us to stay in contention in our conference race."

After Purdue's lead hit seven, Michigan point guard Daniel Horton drew his team to within two points with by hitting a quick two-point shot followed by a bomb from way down town with just over eight minutes left in the half.

Purdue continued to hit from the floor, however, and the Boilers continued to crank up the pressure on the home team by climbing back out on top by two. Ron Coleman would answer with seven of Michigan's next nine points, though, to keep Michigan in reach.

Both the Wolverines and Boilermakers would trade baskets much of the way until halftime, and Purdue went into the break on top 38-33.

At the open of the second half, Graham Brown and Horton snatched control of the game as the Wolverines drew even. Brown opened the half with four consecutive points for the Maize and Blue, and after trimming the lead down to four points, the Wolverines point guard, Horton, drained back-to-back triples to put Michigan back on top 43-41.

"When Coach Amaker told me that he was going to move me to the wing for this game with Lester out, he told me that he was going to need me to score," said Horton on his 24 point performance. "I tried to focus on that today."

Purdue would get seven straight from Korey Spates to climb back on top by five, but Horton would again pull the Wolverines back up and into the lead with a three-point play followed by his fifth three ball of the game.

After trading baskets, the Wolverines pulled in front by two on a pair of Horton free throws with 2:39 left on the clock, and after Purdue missed from downtown with 10 seconds left on the clock, Ron Coleman put the game away with a final free throw in the closing seconds.

Michigan has until next Saturday to prepare for their battle with top 10 foe University of Illinois on January 14.

The Michigan Insider Top Stories