Game 27: Michigan at Purdue Recap

Dylan Burkhardt
Michigan 77, Purdue 76-0

Michigan 77, Purdue 76 (OT).  Photo Gallery. Beilein presser. Player presser. Purdue presser. Box score. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

Michigan escaped West Lafayette with an overtime victory on Wednesday night to keep its outright Big Ten Title hopes alive and well.

The Wolverines were pummeled out of the gate, making just three of their first 17 shots from the field while Purdue made five of its first seven three-point attempts. The Wolverines trailed 27-8 just over 12 minutes into the first half and looked to be on the ropes.

Michigan outscored Purdue by 20 points over the next 33 minutes in a game that featured all of the drama, late game heroics and apparently randomness that we love to see in sports. But make no mistake about it, this game was about the inevitability of averages.

Michigan is the best shooting team in the Big Ten. Purdue is the third worst. Eventually, those simple facts caught up to the Boilermakers.

Purdue made just two more threes in the final 33 minutes of the game and the Wolverines made 24 of their final 48 shots with a 55.2 effective field goal percentage – .05 percent off of their Big Ten average. Purdue watched its shooting cool from a 88.4 effective field goal percentage in the first 12:15 to just 36% for the rest of the game.

Michigan forced overtime despite never leading in regulation and eventually Glenn Robinson III supplied the dagger with a buzzer beating bank shot.

Even Robinson’s game winner was enabled by the numbers catching up to the Boilermakers. Purdue entered Wednesday’s game as the worst free throw shooting team in the conference, but made its first 17 attempts. Kendall Stephens went to the line for No. 18, the front end of a one-and-one that could have given Purdue a three point lead, and left it short.


Michigan’s offense still managed 1.11 points per possession despite the dreadful start. The Wolverines scored .80 points per possession in the first half before exploding for 1.36 points per trip in the second half and overtime.

Michigan’s offensive game plan was to attack the rim, but it took a lot of resolve to stick to the plan. The Wolverines shot just 35% on twos in the first half and struggled to adjust to the physicality in the paint. But Michigan’s guards kept attacking, kept driving and eventually found results – mostly at the free throw line. Just 35% of the Wolverines’ field goal attempts were threes and eventually they were able to punish Purdue’s over-aggressive help defense at the rim. The Wolverines shot 35% on twos and struggled to get to the free throw line in the first half, but shot 60% on twos and got to the free throw line in the second. A.J. Hammons’s fifth foul was a big boost for the Wolverine attack as he had blocked three shots and altered many more.

Michigan still has a lot of work to do defensively. With 27 games in the book, it may be time to just accept that the Wolverines aren’t going to get many stops. Purdue shot the lights out early, before eventually cooling down, but was still getting open looks. Michigan struggled to stop the Boilermakers’ dribble penetration for much of the game and then in the second half, the Boilermakers overwhelmed Michigan on the offensive glass. Purdue rebounded 44 percent of its misses in the second half and overtime and scored 11 second chance points.

The final shot was a great play call, even if it looked a bit unconventional. That is a shot that Beilein wants with two or three seconds on the clock. It’s almost identical to the sideline out of bounds set that Michigan ran against Michigan State four years ago. Robinson was the best athlete on the floor and Purdue didn’t have a big man, why not throw him the ball 10 feet from the hoop? Perhaps the most underrated element of the play was Caris LeVert’s pass over the defense to the perfect spot where only Robinson could catch the ball.

It was definitely a lucky win, but every win counts the same. Despite having the youngest roster in the conference, Michigan has won four Big Ten road games by five or fewer points. The Wolverines are one game closer to their regular season goal: The Big Ten Championship. Next up is a home tilt with Minnesota, who is likely playing for its NCAA tournament life after a home upset of Iowa.

Michigan 77, Purdue 76-27
Dustin Johnston

Player Bullets

  • Glenn Robinson III: Robinson answered the bell while playing in front of his dad. He scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting with 8 rebounds, three assists and one turnover. He missed his first jumper of the day badly, but from that point in he was locked in with the 17-footer. Robinson hit the game winner, but he also knocked down both ends of a one-and-one to tie the game in regulation. Robinson hasn’t made a three in the last three games, but is 18-of-25 inside the arc and has reached double figures in his last three games.
  • Spike Albrecht: Spike rescued Michigan. He couldn’t hit a shot (1-of-5), but he just seemed to turn the game around. He did just about everything other than knock down a dagger three in overtime. Albrecht’s drawn charge against Ronnie Johnson was critical late, but he was also finally able to crack the Purdue defense in overtime and find Jordan Morgan for open dunks.
  • Caris LeVert: LeVert played a great game despite struggling to finish inside. He finished with 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting with 4 assists to one turnover and seven rebounds (3 offensive). LeVert had a game-changing steal and euro-step layup late in regulation which gave Michigan an extra breath of life. I did cringe when he passed up an open three from the corner where he shoots 62%, but he played a solid game overall.
  • Jordan Morgan: Morgan put in one of his best games of the season: 13 points (6-8 shooting), nine rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes. Morgan played great defense on AJ Hammons and he had some very strong rebounds with the game on the line. Morgan only has three more Big Ten games left in his career and he’s played like a guy that wants a ring.
  • Nik Stauskas: We’ve spent the 72 hours since the Michigan State game for applauding Stauskas for being aggressive no matter what. The result tonight was 15 points on 5-of-18 (0-4 3pt) shooting with 3 assists and two turnovers. Stauskas missed a lot of looks at the rim and could never find his long range shot (he did bang his wrist/elbow hard early). He’s a Player of the Year candidate in the conference, but he has to realize he’s not going to get every call just driving into the lane and flailing around when there’s a bit of contact.
  • Zak Irvin: Shooters gotta shoot. Irvin was put in the game to shoot and that’s just what he did, scoring 8 points on 2-of-4 long distance shooting with an assist. Defensively, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Irvin struggled fighting through off ball Purdue screens and got schooled by Ronnie Johnson on the final Purdue offensive possession.
  • Jon Horford: Horford missed his only shot and struggled on the glass when he was on the floor.
  • Derrick Walton: Walton didn’t play a great game, but it was surprising that he barely played in the final 10 minutes of play. Walton scored 8 points on 2-of-6 shooting (all threes), with one assist to two turnovers.
  • Burke_Does_Work

    Thanks for uploading this so soon. I, and I’m sure many others, really appreciate all the content that you guys put out following games, and the depth of the analysis is second to none.

  • guestavo

    I hope JB and crew can find a way to get GR3 that 17 footer on more volume. I know he can’t really create off the bounce or for others, but it’s a quick and clean shot that he shoots at a great percentage. He was also amazing in transition. Post ups, curls. backdoor action, elbow jumpers.. too many ways for him to score for him to just park on the wing. Also glad I got the pick to click right lol

    Morgan is one of the pillars of our program’s resurgence, gonna be odd the day he isn’t in a uniform. This team has shown it can win ugly and without the 3 ball on a few occasions and that is what makes me the most optimistic.

    • Mattski

      I wondered before the game whether Beilein wasn’t going to emphasize getting him into the flow yesterday, and of course you made a good pick-to-click call there. The timing was right. Want opposing teams to have to scout everybody!

      • guestavo

        Plus he becomes MUCH more active on the boards and locked in defensively when our other players act like he exists on offense.

  • kam

    Honestly with Nik besides the MSU game he was struggling. Maybe he hasn’t come out of his slump. Just had a hot game. BUT i will say he got to the rim and got good looks. But man is defense is veryyy bad. He cant be that bad offensively when is D is already that bad. Glad we got exceptional play from Morgan and spike. Glenn was great also. caris played solid. Hey a win is a win.

  • RB

    I too was curious about Walton riding the pine down the stretch. While the offense seemed to have a little better flow through Spike, I thought there were a few defensive possessions where Beilein could have subbed in Walton to check Ronnie Johnson, who was treating Spike like a revolving door.

  • beelza

    In street racing vernacular, “run what you brung.” AKA Nik Staukas. Keep feeding him, he was brutalized the whole game and his fortitude deserves recognition, stats be damned.

    • UMHoopsFan

      Amen, I will take Nik being agressive every game I can.

    • guestavo

      13 ppg 41% FG 9.4 FGA 2.7 AST 2.7 TO and the worst perimeter defender in the month of Feb

      The ref officiated Nik’s reckless, out of control drives just fine. The numbers in February speak for themselves. Let’s see if he can shut the haters (me) up.

      • Mattski

        I think he got legitimately whacked on several of those plays, that–more importantly–the refs allowed Purdue to set a pretty high bar for any foul-calling that Michigan struggled to overcome all night. (Yes, we got a few calls our way down the stretch.) And I’m not sure how it profits you to sign on as a “hater;” it’s just going to make people resist your many strong observations. Myself, I’m hoping like heck that Nik’s liabilities mean he comes back. I’m selfishly starting to fantasize that everybody comes back. . .

        • guestavo

          I didn’t brand myself a hater, apparently that was the title given to me for being unbiased and blunt in my observations.

          For example, I have yet to hear anyone say “well he was open” for any of the 3s Glenn has missed in his slump, just bashing, but reckless Nik drives are all qualified with stuff like “the refs didn’t call it”

          Would I like Nik to return to January form? Sure. The reality is that he isn’t playing well and we have other options that are capable of handling our volume scoring if he doesn’t have it. And I’m strictly focusing on his offense, since thats where all of his value comes from. His I score, you score defense is what it is at this point.

  • Aaron

    Watching the .gif of the game-winning play, it seems like Morgan might have been able to get a tip-in if the ball had rolled off the rim? Watch the clock right next to the basket and Morgan’s placement. Maybe a pointless hypothetical, but interesting to think that Morgan could have won the game too.

    • catwomanrx


    • Dr_ZC

      Or lost the game due to either offensive interference or Indiana jinx.

  • Daoofgeek

    Agree that you have to play through the whistle but it was criminal how many non-calls the officials blew in that game. Stauskas was hacked and held (not to mention several others) but the refs swallowed the whistle.

    To be fair, this isn’t just happening to Michigan–officiating as a whole has gotten so bad over the last few years with this year being the worst. I’ve turned off good games (NOT Michigan games, of course) because I can’t stand the abysmal officiating. Something has to be done about it.

    • Agreed. I know it’s a fluid game, but there does not seem to be any rhyme or reason as to what is whistled and what is not. Really frustrating to watch.

    • Dr_ZC

      Well, I like Nik, but this game was one he has to forget. He had great looks, but could not deliver. One play stands. In a back door pass, he could have gone for the slam like he did at MSU, but instead he got lazy and missed the bunny. As for the calls or lack thereof, I thought we got our fair share of calls going our way. I could not tell if Nik was mugged or not. I thought that he was played close but clean. He complained a lot for not getting calls on missed shots, which is uncharacteristic of him. Even Hortford had to remind him he has to continue playing.

      We are all surprised when Nik is missing a shot badly. It seems that he is surprised as well, but he has to show maturity and play on.

      • gobluemd16

        Honestly, I thought the officiating wasn’t too great, but fairly even. The refs just aren’t very good or consistent, but I don’t think they were showing any favoritism. About an equal amount of questionable calls went each way

  • Wayman Britt

    Well sometimes it’s good to be lucky, just ask Wisconsin over the years.

    The team really needs to shore up the first 6 – 8 minutes of their games. We keep getting into such deep holes. Maybe sub sooner to bring a spark, when they are playing bad.

  • Mattski

    The more you watch that last play the more well-designed and executed it looks; but it still required incredible control from GRIII. Really nice appreciation of him by his dad in the Freep, speaks in his defense the way some of us here have:

    “He’s still playing well,” the elder Robinson said. “He’s a player. I was a scorer. I was basically a scorer and a rebounder. There are so many other things he can do. He can score, he can rebound, he can pass, he can handle the ball. I really don’t worry too much when he isn’t scoring. But when his scoring comes along with the other things he does, it just makes it that much better for him.”

    Need to see continued maturation from Walton, but the fact that we have so many guys who can step up is terrific. How much more balanced can a scoring sheet get: Robinson 17, Stauskas 15, LeVert 14, Morgan 13, Walton 8,
    Irvin 8. . .

    • Mattski

      Another terrific piece, about what the game meant to Robinson and Albrecht, in a Chi paper:

      His brother is about to enroll at Purdue, where he’ll play football.

      • jakerblue

        great article, love that we have both those guys, good players and they seem like great kids.
        Just more to show Beilein’s eye for talent and the coaching staff’s ability to develop them.

        • Mark Worthley

          The Region always used to be Purdue territory. Matt Painter’s recent lack of success has to be tied to his inability to get players from Lake and Porter Co and the surrounding area.

    • UMHoopsFan

      GRIII is a GREAT finisher around the rim. People shortchange his “layups and dunks” — his balance, body control, athleticism, and touch in that regard is underrated.

  • Michigan4

    I remember Trey Burke saying something along these lines last year, but man Ronnie and Terone Johnson spend way too much time talking trash during the games. One of the things I love about Beilein coached teams is they typically let their play do the talking. Great win and I was so happy that it was Glenn that hit the game winning shot. He certainly deserved it!

  • ChathaM

    One encouraging thing about the defence is that the 1-3-1 has been more active, and played more intelligently, over the past few games. With Caris at the front of the zone, it’s being extended all the way to halfcourt, and that does seem to rush the offence into poor decisions. I’m confident that it can be used over multiple possessions, 2 or 3 times a game. That’s something that couldn’t be said a month ago. Teams will be prepared for it, but it can still be en effective wrinkle.

    I do think that Nik was fouled at least twice without a call being made (first possession of the game, and late in the game on a Hammons hip check, after which Nik jumped and threw the ball away). There was no good reason to miss either of those calls. But, I also think that Nik has gotten into the habit of turning his body when anticipating contact and flipping the ball at the rim. Officials are less likely to make a foul call when a player does that, as opposed to when the player attacks the rim more directly. A good example of that approach was when Nik attacked from the left corner late in the game, and drew the foul on Hammons. Hammons actually may not have fouled on that play, but the perception was that Nik took the ball hard, right at him. For whatever reason, that perception is more likely to draw a call from an official.

    During the game winning play, I was terrified that one of the officials was going to call basket interference on Morgan for touching the mesh when the ball was on the rim. By the letter of the rule, that call could have been justified. But, a no-call was correct, in that the brush of the mesh had no impact on the play.

    Painter’s reaction to the game-winning shot was as “well, that’s how this season has gone” as it could be.

    Who spends more time with their nose buried in their phone at a sporting event; the average teenager, or the Big Dog?

    • Dr_ZC

      I could not see the official, but I heard the whistle blowing twice. I thought they called it interference, but I guess the ref swallowed his whistle afterwards.

      • ChathaM

        I believe that was Kitts (the official on the near side) blowing his whistle to draw attention, as he was the one responsible for counting or not counting the basket.

        • Dr_ZC

          It was very confusing at the moment. The ref, looked at the play, then looked at the clock on the top and blew his whistle four times like “beep-beep,….beep-beep”, which I thought it is the signal to nullify the play… In fact, immediately after that, the band played the Purdue fighting song, as (I am guessing) they thought the basket was invalid. They should have played the taps if they thought they lost the game, or keep silent.

    • UMHoopsFan

      Hammons had a blatant interference late in the game – he actually grabbed the rim before the ball went down – so I’d have been pretty annoyed if they called JMo grazing the net. Good teaching moment though — don’t do that!

  • gobluemd16

    Most of the positives have been touched on, but so great to get a gritty-type win where we had to fight back and clearly weren’t shooting our best. I am so happy for Glenn, especially after all the crap he gets. We definitely stole one last night.
    A few negatives that I think need to be harped on more: As Dylan said, our defense is what it is at this point. Average at best if we are playing well, so we basically need to be clicking on offense to win games. One thing that is troubling, though, was Nik’s defense. Whether it was because he was having a frustrating offensive game and it carried over, or he was just getting beaten, he has to show a lot more effort on that end. He got punked a few times. I can’t wait to see the defensive score sheet because his will NOT be good.
    Also, this is the 5th (!) game in a row where we started poorly and put ourselves in a hole. @Iowa, @OSU, v. Wisco and MSU, and then last night. This is a really bad trend, and will come back to bite us in the rear if it continues. The ability to fight back and never give in is great, but getting in the habit of playing from behind is not good.

  • Chezaroo

    What a ride this season has been. The more success we have the more you want. This was as great a comeback as I can remember, and really shows some sand. We have a lot of basketball to look forward to, and who can possibly write the script going forward?