Five Key Plays: Michigan at Purdue


1) Michigan goes on 11-2 run in the second half to cut into lead

We’re picking things up late in Michigan’s 77-76 overtime victory at Purdue, which is fitting given that the first half was one to forget anyhow. Michigan ran out of the tunnel after halftime to a 13-point deficit and after five minutes had gone by they had only cut into Purdue’s lead by two points. The above sequence shows the run that truly got Michigan back into this game. On the first play, Glenn Robinson III racks up one of his three assists on the night with a pass to a curling Spike Albrecht. Albrecht makes a good hard cut to the basket after hesitating at the top of the key, losing his defender. Jordan Morgan draws AJ Hammons safely out of the key and the lane is wide open for the lay-in. Albrecht returns the favor on the next play, making a great pass to Robinson for the alley-oop. Purdue gets caught ball-watching on this play, as Albrecht gets by the help from Travis Carroll and lobs the ball over Terone Johnson and Raphael Davis to a soaring Robinson. Later, Zak Irvin corrals a defensive rebound and pushes the pace, finding Nik Stauskas in stride. This allows Stauskas to have a full head of steam when he receives the ball, giving him just enough space to get off his shot over Ronnie Johnson. Stauskas makes a nice play by going for the bank as he was falling away. On the following play, Robinson shows again why it is so important for players outside of the centers to get defensive rebounds. Robinson grabs the rebound off a Purdue miss and is able to immediately push the ball upcourt with the dribble before passing to Zak Irvin, who hits a three in the corner. Finally, Albrecht makes a great play by getting has hand on a Purdue pass. Even though he makes the wrong play on the fast break — he should have shoveled the ball to Irvin, Stauskas eventually gets the freshman the ball. Irvin is fouled on the shot and makes two free throws, bringing a deficit that was as large as 19 in the first half down to two points.

2) Purdue gets offensive rebounds to stave off Michigan

Jon Horford had a tough night on Wednesday, and nowhere was it more apparent than on a few of these Purdue offensive rebounds. It’s not fair to single out Horford — Michigan as a team didn’t box out terribly well — but those first two plays really stand out. On the first, after a missed 3-pointer by Kendall Stephens (one of his four misses from beyond the arc in the second half) Horford actually has solid position on Hammons but Raphael Davis comes over the top of him and grabs what should have been a sure Michigan board. Later in the possession, Spike Albrecht gets shook by Ronnie Johnson on the drive and Michigan’s help defense is nowhere to be found, allowing Johnson to make an easy layup. Later, Terone Johnson fires up a missed three of his own (one of his two second-half misses from deep) and while Horford wasn’t in terrible position, he needed to commit on the foul of Hammons. Instead, he basically gave him a touch foul that allowed Hammons to hit the and-1 layup after corralling the offensive board. Again, Hammons is a beast inside, but tonight just wasn’t Horford’s night. John Beilein took him out after that play, and we can see the difference that Jordan Morgan brings. On the next play, Morgan does a terrific job of boxing out Hammons, forcing him to the baseline and away from the play. But Terone Johnson rises up for the board and nails the putback. These buckets helped Purdue secure the lead until the last few minutes of overtime.

3) Caris LeVert steal, Glenn Robinson III free throws boost Michigan late

Caris LeVert didn’t have a perfect game — the sophomore shot just 4-for-12 from the field — but he made some big plays for Michigan down the stretch. He also helped out Michigan in ways other than scoring, with seven rebounds (three offensive) and four assists to go along with this timely steal. LeVert is lethal in ball-denial situations because of his length and quickness, and he shows it on this play. LeVert gets a hand on the ball during a routine pass between Johnson brothers, and then shows great concentration maintaining control of the ball as he pushes it ahead going the other way. Also: it wasn’t called so it doesn’t really matter, but LeVert blatantly traveled on this play, taking two and a half steps on his way to the hoop. This basket brought Michigan to within two points with just over two minutes to play. On the very next play, the Wolverines make another opportunistic defensive play, and this time it is Spike Albrecht once again. The sophomore gets his hand on the ball during a Terone Johnson spin move, knocking it loose to be picked up by Glenn Robinson III. Robinson was fouled by Kendall Stephens after controlling the ball, sending him to the line. Robinson hit both free throws to tie the game with 1:53 remaining in regulation.

4) Spike Albrecht takes a charge on Purdue’s final offensive play of regulation

There was a bit of Twitter consternation over this play, and understandably so. These plays are always controversial. But within the rules of the game, it was a fantastic play. Looking at it in the context of help defense, it was simply Spike Albrecht sliding over to help and using the most available tool at his disposal. Albrecht wasn’t going to be able to challenge Errick Peck on the jumpshot or the drive — Peck is 6-foot-6, Albrecht is maybe 6 feet. The beef isn’t with Albrecht making the play, it’s that this play is available to make at all within the rules. Some people have a problem with charges, and as soon as someone comes along with the viable alternative deterrent for offensive players simply lowering their shoulders and bowling defenders over on drives, a rule change is a conversation worth having. As of now, there needs to be a better argument than “charges are soft” in order to make the detraction worth listening to. Within the rules of basketball, Albrecht made a great play in this situation and got to his spot in time. The moral validity of charges is a conversation for the offseason. This play secured the tie for Michigan and led to a missed 3-pointer by Nik Stauskas on the final possession of regulation, leading to overtime.

5) Spike Albrecht, Caris LeVert find Jordan Morgan in overtime

With AJ Hammons called for his fifth foul with just under two minutes left to play in regulation, the lane was wide open for Michigan to finally be able to run its pick-and-roll in the low post. Spike Albrecht realized this and immediately focused on getting the ball to Jordan Morgan on the roll. Morgan said these opportunities were something Albrecht saw because Purdue likes to go after the blocked shot rather than stay at home on bigs.

“I think that was something that was there because they like to block shots,” Morgan said after the game. “Knowing that and seeing them come over and block a few of our shots and contest a few of our shots, I think Spike just sort of made the decision. He kind of saw that and adjusted during the game.”

On the first play, Albrecht somehow fits a pass in between Kendall Stephens and Errick Peck for a Morgan layup. Two Michigan possessions later, Albrecht doesn’t even need the screen, instead using an up fake to get by his defender and find Morgan waiting inside again for the easy bucket. Finally, Caris LeVert gets in on the action. It’s tough to decide whether LeVert was shooting or passing on this play, but he was credited with the assist. Either way he very much missed Morgan rolling wide open early in the play. Regardless, Morgan slams it home and Michigan was working with a one-point lead.

BONUS: Glenn Robinson III Wins The Game

This play has already been thoroughly dissected. After Zak Irvin was forced to foul Ronnie Johnson on a drive to the basket and Johnson hit both free throws, John Beilein called timeout with 2.9 seconds left and drew up what ended up being a gem of a play. I’ll let him tell you about it:

“We’ve run it before,” Beilein said. “I don’t think we’ve run it yet this year, but it’s a last-second play. We practice it probably once every two weeks. We’ve probably practiced it 10 times, but they ran it last year, as well. So one of the options is to get it to Glenn and have Glenn just make a play. There’s other options in it, but Caris saw the switch, saw the mismatch and just threw it and Glenn went up and got it. He had to finish it through a crowd and did a great job. … That’s the whole idea, to throw it over the top and put Glenn in a jump ball on the other side. That’s the whole idea: bring the defense this way and throw it to the opposite side.”

The idea was there, and the execution was solid. Glenn Robinson III hit the game winner in front of his friends and family, at his father’s alma mater, to keep Michigan’s hopes of winning the Big Ten title outright alive. It was fitting that Robinson hit the game winner, because his dad hit one at Michigan late in the 1994 season that eventually gave Purdue an outright Big Ten Championship.

(H/T @zgordon5)

  • Alex

    When that ball hung on the rim, I had a flashback to the IU game last year. Only for a millisecond, but still scary. What a great play by GR3.

    • Champswest

      The ball hit the backboard and then bounced 3 times on the rim. On the second bounce, it kind of bounced up a little higher and looked like it was going to come out, but it bounced a third time on the inside part of the front of the rim and fell through. At least, that is what I saw. The ball kept bouncing away from the backboard, which added to the perception that it was coming out. Way too stressful of an ending to a very stressful game.

    • Dr_ZC

      Funny how time slows in such moments. Like watching a slo-mo movie with the crowd sound filtered out, only leaving the low tone sound of the ball clanging on the rim.

  • Dr_ZC

    Well, the big Dawg missed a bunny at the end of the game in West Laf., that handed the game back to Michingan in 1994 (or was it 1995?). I remember Jimmy King was jumping in the sidelines after M won that game.

  • kam

    Actually dylan and for all the purdue fans who were mad, it wasn’t a travel. The announcer said/explained it on the final replay and he was correct since caris’ first step was exactly when he put the ball down it doesn’t count as a step then he picked the ball up and took two steps. Its 100% legal. It looks weird but players do that often and people want a travel when its not. But glenn had many key plays, good for him! glad he played well

    • FL Wolve

      It certainly looked like a travel. I’m surprised that it wasn’t called.

      • kam

        watch it again and read what i said. It looks like it but it wasn’t. if you dont believe me look at the rules lol. It wasn’t called because it wasn’t a travel

      • kam

        players do that often. it looks weird because he’s soo long and lanky

    • Dr_ZC

      The patented Lebron Crab dribble

  • Devin

    I watched that play between Caris and Morgan several times, and I am convinced that it was 100% a pass and not a shot.

    • jemblue

      Agree. I wouldn’t really criticize him for not passing to Jordan earlier, either – better to get him the ball right under the basket than 10 feet away.

  • ChathaM

    Can we do a “5 Key Andrew Dakich Reactions” after every win?

  • DTrain

    Couple things: First, the foul on Robinson with 1:53 left that led him to tie the game was even bigger because it was the fifth foul on Hammons. Second, the play with 2.9 seconds left came after Stauskas missed a layup and Michigan fouled with 12 seconds left. Kendall Stephens was fouled and missed the front end of a 1-and-1 (Purdue’s only free throw miss of the day), and Michigan finally corralled the rebound and pushed it past half court before calling timeout with 2.9 left.

  • TimgColo

    Dylan, just noticed the 2012-13 season is missing from past seasons. Was looking at how the program has steadily progressed and noticed it. Jumps from 2011-12 to 2013-14 on the dropdown.

  • A2MIKE

    So happy for Glenn! Hasn’t been his year in terms of a break out performance, but last night was sweet. Good for him, because he deserves all the accolades from last night. I am old enough to remember that 94 game. I am surprised you found video. It wasn’t on at my house that day, so I listened on the radio. Michigan was similarly down 7 with 2 minutes to play at Mackey that year and closed either on an 8-0 run or a 10-2 run to win. They had this game in the bag and let it slip away, probably would have won the Big Ten that year, and that banner would still be hanging, relieving Jalen of his desire for a banner representing his time at Michigan. Oh how things could be different.

    • Dr_ZC

      And GR2 missed an easy put back at the rim with the game clock running down that could have won the game for Purdue.

      I remember the game in AA, where Jalen muffed the ball. Still upset with him with such a bonehead play. Game was won, and then the unthinkable happens.

  • Wow, the sights and sounds from that old Raycom film bring back the old timey memories of watching ball on Saturday afternoons with Dad. Can’t believe GRII went for 37 in that game. He was an amazing player – and so glad his boy came to Michigan.

  • captincork

    Horford doesn’t even try to move Hammonds in that first play. I get that he probably thought he had good position but you need to at least disrupt their center of gravity so that they can’t jump over you so easily.