Game 29: Purdue at Michigan Post Game

Dylan Burkhardt
Manny celebrates against Purdue

The message was clear: don’t write us off quite yet. Thursday night was a hell of a way to go out for CJ Lee, David Merritt, and Jevohn Shepherd. All three seniors got their chance to contribute in the game and their teammates helped them to a proper send off. This one was an offensive performance for the ages against one of the best defensive teams in the country.

Michigan caught fire in the second half en route to 50 points.  The shooting numbers were ridiculous: 81% from the field (17-21) and 62.5% from three point range (5-8) for an effective field goal percentage of 92.8%. Purdue allows an average eFG% of 42.5%, and they have allowed teams to shoot higher than 50% eFG% only four times this year. Michigan’s effective field goal percentage for the game was 71.7%. This was Michigan’s best mark of the season and it was the best shooting effort anyone had against the Boilers since before 2004.

Michigan kept Purdue in the game with their dreadful performance at the free throw line down the stretch. Michigan missed 10 free throws in the second half which is frustrating, especially for a team that has been solid at the stripe. Hopefully this was a one time thing and Michigan can put it behind them. Michigan missed 14 free throws in the game and finished 21 of 35 for the game. Probably the most remarkable stat is that Michigan missed 10 free throws and only 4 field goals in the second half.

Michigan did a solid job on the defensive end but it wasn’t spectacular. Robbie Hummel got a lot of open looks from long range and had 16 points in the first half but Michigan held him to 8 in the second. Michigan did a pretty good job mixing up the defenses; they went with some 1-3-1, 2-3, and man to man. This was enough to keep Purdue a little off balance but the offense clearly won Michigan the game.

Once this season is over there will be no denying that it has been a fun ride. Sure there have been plenty of ups and downs but what more can you expect the year after a 10-22 season? This team has responded with their backs to the wall several times, upset top 5 teams, and even played four overtime games to add to the drama.

Michigan sits at 8-8 in conference and it still looks like they need to find a way to win one more game in the regular season. The RPI made a nice jump to 46 and winning one more could push it close to the thirties range. I’ll work on a post tomorrow about what needs to happen for Michigan’s bubble chances.
Merritt and Beilein
Player Bullets:

  • DeShawn Sims: First the stat line: 34 minutes, 29 points on 13 of 16 (1-2 3pt) shooting, 5 rebounds,2 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal. I think it is safe to say that this was DeShawn’s best game in a Michigan uniform (the Duke game is very close). Peedi took it right at JaJuan Johnson and got him in foul trouble and besides that he just made everything.
  • Manny Harris: Clearly no lingering effects from the Iowa game: 35 minutes, 27 points on 8 of 15 shooting (3-5 3pt), 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 turnovers, and a steal. Manny did it all out there and he did it against one of the best defenders in the country. He took it to the hole, he dished the ball, and he even hit some ridiculous three pointers. I loved Manny’s attitude as well, he was vocal and keeping everyone in the game.
  • Stu Douglass: The unsung hero in this one: 31 minutes, 7 points on 2 of 4 (2-3 3pt) shooting, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Those are pretty good numbers for a freshman facing a tough defense like Purdue. Stu’s over the head backwards bounce pass was a thing of beauty and he got robbed on the Sports Center top 10. Not to mention that they put Kramer swatting Stu’s layup in there. Where is the love?
  • Zack Novak: 34 minutes, 4 points (1-4), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers. It seemed like Purdue wanted to take Zack out of the game and not give him any looks from deep, he didn’t force it and still made his typical hustle plays.
  • Kelvin Grady: 11 minutes, 3 points, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, and a steal. Kelvin got some playing time because of CJ’s foul trouble and he didn’t exactly dominate. Kelvin had one mind numbing turnover with about two minutes to go but he did a good job breaking the press. For what it’s worth I think it is fair to say that Kelvin didn’t really show anything that deserves massive amounts of playing time.
  • CJ Lee: The senior never really got it going on his night due to foul trouble. CJ only played 14 minutes but he did hit a three pointer. The free throws down the stretch (1-4) were enough to drive anyone (including CJ) crazy.
  • Dave Merritt: He’s not Darren Collison or Kalin Lucas but the kid just plays hard. You can’t say enough about him or CJ, they aren’t All Americans but it is their attitude that has made this season what it is — I have no doubt. They are captains in every sense of the word.
  • Jevohn Shepherd: Great to see Shep get a chance to shine on senior night and hit a three and get an assist. He’s been through a lot in his four years here but he stayed through it all and never seemed to pout.
  • Zack Gibson: Nothing to see here: Gibson only played six minutes and he didn’t look good when he was in the game.
  • Laval Lucas-Perry: I think the most frustrating thing for me with Laval right now is the defensive lapses. Laval had 3 fouls in 8 minutes. I do like that he has started to take it to the hole, he’s not much of a finisher in the lane but he can get to the stripe.
  • John Mahoney: Props for the technical, you have to go above and beyond to get a technical as an assistant coach.

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  • Fab54ever

    Awesome game, this was a complete team performance. They showed anyone watching that they deserve an at large bid. They have beat some really good teams this year and brought back the joy to all michigan basketball fans. Peedi and Manny had incredible games. It was good to see the team rally for a big time victory. Shooting 81% in the 2nd half is incredible. Good to see everyone coming together on senior night. Regardless of what happens the next two games, it has been a joy to watch all season. Good luck boys at Wisconsin. One more win. LETS DO THIS.

  • DJ2

    Probably the most fun game to watch all year. I think we still need one more win. See what Peedi can do if he just spends most of his time in the paint area? There is no reason why he can’t have more games like that if he just stops wanting to be a perimeter guy. A win at Wisconsin would be awesome, but our best hope might be at Minnesota.

  • MaizeNBlue2

    This is exactly how I hoped we’d respond. Huge victory. Peedi definitely needs to bring this effort every time out. He looked great. Manny was awesome as well.

    When we play like this, we’re tough to beat. The free throws were definitely disappointing. Other than that, what more can you ask for? A win against a top 20 team on senior night is a great way for Merritt, Lee, & Shep to go out.

    Anyone else see the changing of the guard starting to take place? I really feel like Peedi (pulled Douglass aside in the first half after a turnover on the break) and Manny (more vocal than I ever remember him being) may have been passed the torch. It just seemed like they were turning into leaders right before our eyes. Maybe I’m just reading too much into it. It seems like in the past, Peedi would have gotten upset and been coming down on Douglass in that situation instead of calmly explaining it. What do you guys think?

    Anyway, definitely a huge victory. Here’s to pulling one more out and getting to the tournament for the first time in 10 years! Go Blue!

  • JDub

    That Douglass overhead pass didn’t make the top 10!? Obviously a fun game to watch. The team has shown that it can beat anyone in the country. There is clearly a fire in this team that graces us with its presence every so often, leading to some phenomenal basketball. I hope the tournament committee takes that into account.

    Sims just looked scary. How does Purdue’s big man Johnson generally compare to other big men for Wisconsin/ Minnesota/ NCAA?

    The way Michigan played last night, combined with how they kept it close against Thabeet and UConn, makes me think that Mich can handle the big men just fine if they need to.

  • jack simms

    one little point: in last night’s game there were the “omg, we’re on fire” shots [like manny’s step-back 3’s, and a fall-away 2], but there were many more 2-foot and/or open shots [examples: many of peedi’s]. so many times, good shooting % = took good shots

  • JimC

    WOW that was encouraging. And it was good to hear Raftery and the other announcer imply ono national TV that this win would put us in the tourney. (Though of course it will in all likelihood take more wins).

    Also very cool that on senior night, all three seniors–CJ, Shep, and Merritt–scored! I don’t have time to check, but maybe this is the first time that’s happened all season!?

    SWEET! Let’s savor it for another 48 hours or so.

  • Tom Too

    That is how you play the game. No passing around the perimeter three or four times, followed with a “my-turn-to-chuck-one.” Really nice offensive flow to the thing. Really ran their stuff well. This is a classic JB team…playing well at the end of the season. Do you remember the WV team that was seeded 8th in the Big East Tourney? They were a bubble team before they went to the BE Tourney Final….ended up being an 8th Seed Somewhere and made the sweet 16/Elite 8. He used to say all the time, “You are only as good as your last game,” and coached that way.

  • Duder

    my hope is that this game – especially given Manny’s performance – silences the critics who took Beilein to task for benching Manny in OT against Iowa. both Manny and the team responded last night – Beilein has clearly earned the benefit of the doubt in my mind.

  • Quality win for you guys last night. Very few teams can beat you when you’re playing that well. I would like to have seen what we could have done against Sims if Nemanja Calasan hadn’t been ill and JaJuan Johnson wasn’t in foul trouble, but you guys did what good teams do and exploited it.

    Up for round 3 in indy?

  • Chris

    I was impressed with Sims ability to initiate contact when Johnson was out of position. Very smart of him considering Purdue was short a big man due to an illness. Thanks for the help. Looking forward to the rematch in the B10 tourney, GO Green!

  • We are in the latest Crashing The Dance Field

    Bubble post coming up this afternoon.

  • blueinflorida

    I thought the play of the game came with about 16:30 left in the second half. Stu Douglass had the ball around the perimeter. Instead of swinging it to Harris at the top of the key who was calling for it he made a nice entry pass down to Sims, who drew the 4th foul on JaJuan with an and 1. Great play and very smart pass from Stu. Love that kid.

    Great win. You gotta believe, after the intensity and spirit with which the team played last night that they will find a way to win one more game. Here’s hoping it comes against Wisconsin. Go Blue!

  • Hathachips

    Awesome game for Michigan. Beilein will have them shooting free throws today though. They were far too excited and hurried at the end to focus on the freebies and that is going to have to change. I’m wondering why they don’t set up a play to get the ball to Manny when you know they are planning to quick foul. Anyway, I DVR’d it so I will watch again. Good STUFF.

  • Kevin In GR

    So does anyone know what 4 top recruits were on hand last night? I’d assume Zeigler was one?

  • I believe the headline on Scout is about football recruits.

  • Chuck

    And people doubted the effectiveness of John Belushi’s speech from Animal House? ;-)

  • DC Dave

    One thing we learned last night, if we didn’t already know it, is that Sims can be a beast when they feed him the ball down low. It has frustrated me all season that they don’t give him the ball more when he’s posting up. Sims could do a better job of establishing position sometimes, but even if he gets it further from the basket than is ideal, you force other teams to bring a double or he can work his way to the basket. I think part of the problem is that Michigan doesn’t have enough size, which means that teams can shade him with a second C/PF without having to worry about Sims lobbing it over the double team to another big. I assume that next year, with Cronin, McLimans and Morgan joining Sims and Gibson on the roster, Michigan will start two bigs, which should help Peedi immensely working down low.

  • Sims can be a beast but he is not always assertive enough. Some days he struggles finishing. Some days he doesn’t get good position. Some days he runs up against guys with more size.

  • jmblue

    Re: FT shooting, the truth is that we’re a pretty mediocre FT shooting team with one outstanding player (Manny) who makes our team average look deceptively good.

    Announcers always mention that we’re a strong FT shooting team. What they never add is that Manny is essentially responsible for that. Manny is shooting an outstanding 85.4% (158-185) from the stripe, and he’s taken by far the most attempts of anyone on the team. The rest of the team is another story, though. Only one other player (LLP) has taken more than 10 attempts on the season and is over 75%. Surprisingly, Novak and Douglass are only shooting in the 60’s (69% and 63.2%, respectively), and Gibson is just 50%. Take out Manny’s attempts and our season FT percentage drops from 74.9% (362-483) to 68.4% (204-298). That’s got to get better.

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  • raiderfan

    Well I couldn’t have been more wrong with my prediction on how the game would go. I thought that Peedi and Manny would both struggle and our role players would lead us to a low scoring “w”. It was almost like that was a different team out there. They were playing like they KNEW they were the better team. I also am starting to think that JB knows more than me about this team. When Kelvin was in I tried to watch him play defense. He was clearly our 3rd best option at pg last night. We still have to get a pg that can hit his f’n free throws. The end just about made me lose my mind. I have to say, and I think most of you would agree with me, if we play like that night in and night out, there are few, if any, teams that can beat us. I made a comment that I would like to see Peedi play like he did against Duke. I would have to say he did that, and then some. Manny played under control and was making Kramer look like a fool whenever he wanted. If those 2 play like that, and Novak and Stu can give us 5-10 points a piece, I like our chances against anyone. Great game guys and don’t let down against Wisconsin. I’m still in shock. I recorded the game and I have already watched it 4 times. I can’t get enough. INCREDIBLE!!!!

  • Lunardi has Michigan as the last team in and Minnesota as the last team out.

  • Ken in Vegas

    I think one thing that we all take for granted is the consistent play of Douglass and Novak. Where would we be without these two guys? They aren’t blowing us away or receiving a lot of national attention, but there are not many freshman who contribute the kind of minutes that they do on a contender like Michigan. Sometimes, when I watch them, I forget they are freshmen. They play smart basketball with a lot of maturity. We rarely ever have to complain about an ill timed turnover or boneheaded play from these two. We just know that they are going to give a great effort and play solid basketball. I think sometimes we don’t always talk about these guys as being major pieces of the puzzle moving forward, as our recruiting gets better. The truth is, we have just seen the tip of the iceberg with these guys. If they already play like seniors, what can we expect from them as upperclassman.

  • Avery Queen

    So I have a question about bracketology.

    When Lunardi has us as “in” does that mean he is taking into account two probable losses to close the season and maybe a win in the BTT? Or is it simply if selection Sunday was selection today then we would be in?

    btw I can’t believe Raftery said “Harris is the Man-ny”

  • I would assume it means today. We pretty much have to beat Minnesota or Wisconsin IMO.

  • Giddings

    Sweet, Iowa moving back into the Top 100 means we now have 10 wins against Top 100 teams. For comparison, PSU and Minnesota both have 7, OSU has 9 (MSU has 15).

  • Giddings

    Also ACC bubblers Miami and Virginia Tech only have 6 wins vs. the Top 100 but based on Lunardi’s Bracketology they might get in just based on the fact that they play in the ACC (argh).

  • hambone

    Lundardi’s has us slated for a potential third-meeting with duke in the second round – anyone else’s thoughts on whether ncaa committee considers / looks ahead like that to avoid trying to schedule games like that in the early rounds?

  • AC1997

    I was stunned by that game. The standard deviation for this Michigan team has to be the highest in history. They can look so good and so bad just days apart that it will drive you crazy. Without whining about it, I really think a lot of that has to do with the officiating. (The rest with their style of offense and the youth on this team.)

    I wanted to take a moment to discuss Grady. I realize he wasn’t perfect out there. But for all of the Merritt and CJ love, they aren’t perfect either. They get toasted at times, make stupid fouls, etc.

    When I see Grady on the court I just think the offense works a little better. The ball gets across the centerline with ease and quickness, the passes at the perimeter seem a little better, we get some drives to the basket, and the defense at least somewhat pays attention to him. I like everything CJ and Merritt do for the team and at this point I think you give CJ his minutes. But I think Grady does enough to warrant a LITTLE more time.

    Sims was a total stud last night. I thought he looked great against MSU, but he was unbelieveable out there. I really hope this game gives them confidence and they can do something with that.

    I think the last bid (or two) from the conference is going to go to Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Michigan. (Add PSU if you want also.) These last two games it is basically like a tournament. I think the MN-UM game could decide the last spot.

  • MH

    I would disagree on the “Nothing to see here” line for Gibson. There was a lot of awful play to see! His entry into the game sparked purdue’s run midway thru the 2nd half. Then, when subbed in for Peedi very late in the game, he didnt box out his man and gave up an easy layup– Beilein took him right back out. ugh ugh ugh on gibson.

  • jmblue

    AC1997 – remember, Beilein predicted before the year that we’d have some really high highs and really low lows. He was on the money with that prediction, that’s for sure. Hopefully we’ll get one more of the former in the next two games.

  • JimC

    Yeah, the only thing consistent is that we are very good within Wayne or Washtenaw counties. Outside of that the mojo fades away.

    So if M remains the last 1 in, and MN is the first out, ignoring the BTT, that could really make the MN game our play-in game.

    We need another motivational speech!
    Get Matt Foley to Ann Arbor!

  • raiderfan

    The thing that hurts Grady the most is his decision making. He trys to rush things to much on offense and he gambles to much on defense. To his credit though, our offense does seem to flow much better with him in the game, pushing the tempo. Did anyone hear Raftery say the Big Ten might get 9 teams in? Craziness. I don’t see Minnesota getting in, and I also think Penn State will come down to earth and play their way out. If we can win one more, I think were in for sure. I would love to see us win in Madison, but I’ll take it however we get it. I see the Big Ten getting 6 teams in, including us. Hopefully!!!

  • JimC

    Or maybe we should get coach Norman Dale, and always pass 4 times.

  • Kevin

    Ken, great point about Douglass and Novak. They really do give quality minutes and make the smart play. I remember three or four times last night while a play was going on, the announcer would say something (“don’t need to force it here”, etc.) and Stu or Zack would do it right on cue. It was like they had a little earpiece in listening to exactly what they said. Another instance that stood out was when Kelvin was on the break with about two minutes left and instead of slowing it up, he forces a turnover. Nothing against him as a player, just pointing out a difference between him and the freshmen.

  • San Diego Blue

    Do you guys think Beilein adjusted his offense against Purdue? It seemed to me there were 3 solid plays:

    1) Peedi post up
    2) Manny blow by getting fouled
    3) Manny/Peedi pick and roll (although requires a riskier pass)

    I got the sense that Purdue somehow could not really defend any of those 3 (and of course if they double teamed would give up open 3s).
    I am not sure I have seen this sort of deliberate plays from us before (strangely for the best defensive team in the big ten according to Raftery you would think Purdue would adjust).
    It seems like if Peedi can get off down low, that opens everything up…. So the importance of solid post play within our offense