Freshman forward talks about the upcoming game against Michigan State and frustrating finish in Tuesday's 70-69 loss. James Hawkins, The Detroit News
Ann Arbor — Michigan had a chance to legitimize itself as a Big Ten contender and give its March resume a serious boost.
The opportunity slipped away in the final seconds against No. 5 Purdue.
Michigan rallied from a 14-point deficit only to have a critical turnover and foul lead to a tiebreaking free throw by Isaac Haas with four seconds left in a 70-69 loss Tuesday night at Crisler Center.
Zavier Simpson had 15 points and Charles Matthews added 14 but had a desperation 3-pointer rim out as time expired for Michigan (14-4, 3-2 Big Ten), which saw its seven-game winning streak end.
"That one hurts,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “That was a great opportunity for us to beat a really good basketball team. You go from the height of emotions of having the ball with 25 seconds to go to having the ball out of bounds with five seconds to go and then not having the ball out of bounds and then have a foul. But it's part of the game and we have to learn from it and get better from it.
“We had a chance to win this game. We got ahead and then we couldn't get stops when we needed to. They made tough shots and we couldn't run some of the action that we wanted to run. It just blew up in our face and all of a sudden the shot clock is (winding down). Down the stretch, I wish we could've done better. We'll grow from it. I'll grow from it and be a better coach."
Purdue (16-2, 5-0) and Michigan traded shots over the final 10 minutes during a tight, back-and-forth second half until the game came to a standstill when Matthews was stripped by Dakota Mathias on a drive to the basket in the final seconds with the score tied at 69.
The ball was originally awarded to the Wolverines with 5.8 seconds left before Purdue coach Matt Painter asked the officials to review the play.
Michigan coach talks about his team's performance and the final minute of Tuesday's 70-69 loss. James Hawkins, The Detroit News
"They just said it hit (Matthews). I had no clue,” Painter said. “I'm so far away from it, but you're in that moment so you might as well and they'll go and look for it.
“We had to ask for it. They (officials) weren't going to but I was guessing.”
As it turned out, Painter guessed right. After a lengthy replay review, the officials concluded Matthews touched the ball last and Purdue was awarded possession with an adjusted 6.2 seconds left.
Beilein said he was told the ball went off Matthews’ hand but was irked by how long it took to overturn the original call.
"I asked them, ‘Why it was taking so long?’” Beilein said. “I said if it was taking so long then it must not be indisputable evidence. Charles said it didn't go off, but they said it did.”
Michigan had a foul to give and used it with 4.8 seconds remaining. With no timeouts left, the Boilermakers inbounded the ball from the sideline near their bench and threw it to Haas in the post.
Moritz Wagner reached over the back of Haas and knocked the ball away, but was whistled for a foul — much to the dismay of Wagner and the Crisler Center crowd.
“I'll wait to watch the video,” Beilein said. “If they're fouls that he knows he can't do — every game is a hard game to officiate. I'm not crazy about calls that can impact a game and could probably go without.
“I don't know whether those were good calls or not. I think that every official wants the players to play the game and you hope that's how he officiates — that players determine the game."
Wagner’s foul put Purdue in the bonus and sent Haas to the free-throw line, where he made the front end of the one-and-one before missing the second to make it a one-point game with four seconds to go.
Isaiah Livers corralled the rebound and tossed it to Matthews, but Beilein elected to let the game ride out instead of taking his final timeout.
“We had a play ready if the ball goes through,” Beilein said of Haas' second free throw. “With 3.6 (seconds) you can get end-to-end. I had my mind made up if the right guy got it, you could probably get over half court. (Matthews) has a habit of taking some curious routes to the basket full court. He just arcs things.
“If you go right through the court, you could probably get the same shot that we're going to get if we call a timeout and run a full-court play. We're going to get the same shot. I just would like him to go straight line a little bit more.”
While rushing the ball up the court, Matthews was forced toward the sideline and launched his desperation shot just past midcourt. It rattled off the rim.
“That's a tough way to end the game, both ways,” Beilein said. “I'll second-guess myself on a lot of things, but I wish we could've got Charles to the rim. He looked like he was going to go lay it in with 5.8 (seconds left).
“I was really convinced we had a play set up, we were going to win the game. And all of a sudden, they win the game.”
Carsen Edwards scored 19 and Haas finished with 17 points and six rebounds for Purdue, which has won 12 in a row.
Wagner finished with 11 points and six rebounds and Livers scored 10, with six points coming on back-to-back 3-pointers during a 14-4 run that helped wipe out a 13-point deficit in the second half.
Michigan took a 67-63 lead with 3:57 remaining following a 3-pointer by Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman. But after Vincent Edwards hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 69 with 2:28 left, Simpson missed a jumper at the 1:55 mark and Abdur-Rahkman couldn't connect on a 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining.
Despite the disappointing finish, the Wolverines will get a chance to rid the bitter taste against another top-five opponent Saturday at No. 4 Michigan State.
“It's definitely frustrating when you keep battling back and you don't get the end result you want,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “It's just tough. We just got to go back to practice, focus and get ready for the next task, which is Michigan State.”