West Lafayette, Ind. — Junior guard Eli Brooks exited Saturday’s game in the second half following a head-to-head collision.
While the extent of Brooks’ nose injury wasn’t known immediately after Michigan’s 71-63 win over Purdue at Mackey Arena, coach Juwan Howard made it sound like it doesn’t appear to be too serious.
"Well, I haven't had a chance to talk to him,” Howard said. “But I'll tell you one thing, he still looks handsome.”
Brooks collided with Purdue junior guard Nojel Eastern on an inbounds play with 17:14 remaining in the game. The impact sent both players crashing to the court and left Brooks bleeding from his nose.
After both were subbed out, Brooks eventually walked back to the locker room with a towel over his face for further evaluation. The medical staff was able to stop the bleeding, but Brooks was ruled out for the rest of the contest.
“All I saw was a lot of blood on the floor,” Howard said. “He got me concerned. But the kid's a warrior. He's tough. He wanted to go back in the game. I said, ‘No, we're holding you out. Your health is more important than anything.’”
With Brooks sidelined, sophomore guard David DeJulius stepped in and finished out the game in his place. DeJulius was able to control the ball against Purdue’s pressure and had a key sequence where he skied for an offensive tip-in before drawing a moving screen on the other end.
"Dave is a worker, man,” junior forward Isaiah Livers said. “That man will never give up, ever. It's always next-man-up mentality no matter who goes down. But with Dave, you can always count on him being ready.”
Brooks has started all 27 games this season and is averaging 11.3 points per game. He’s one of three Wolverines who have played in every game, along with senior center Jon Teske and DeJulius.
Michigan’s next game is Thursday against Wisconsin at Crisler Center.
Livers made his return to the starting lineup once again after missing Wednesday’s game at Rutgers with a right ankle injury.
The ailment didn’t appear to have any lingering effects as he finished with 19 points (5-for-11 shooting) and six rebounds in 36 minutes.
"I knew yesterday before we had our shoot-around that I was going to be good (to play) because we have a good athletic staff and the coaching staff does a good job of taking care of me,” said Livers, who had an ice pack wrapped around his ankle after the game.
“That doesn't go unnoticed. I'm grateful to have a staff such as them because they keep me ready, keep my mind ready. I wasn't really thinking about it (ankle) when I was out there, so that felt really good."
Livers added he doesn’t expect the injury to hamper him at all moving forward.
"It's going to be good, man. I'm going to manage it the best I can,” he said. “We've got two off days, so I've got to proactive and take care of it.”
Off the mark
Senior guard Zavier Simpson finished 0-for-10 from the field, including 0-for-5 on 3-point attempts, against Purdue. It’s the first time he didn’t make a basket in a game since last season’s Sweet 16 loss to Texas Tech.
It's also the fourth time in Simpson’s career he has missed 10 field-goal attempts in a game. He went 4-for-14 against Illinois in December, 3-for-13 at Michigan State last season and 2-for-12 against Maryland two seasons ago.
Despite the shooting woes, Simpson still controlled the game. He recorded seven rebounds and six assists and played a vital role in Michigan committing just three turnovers.
"Our guys have the mindset that numbers don't matter. The only number that matters is winning and that we score one point more than our opponent,” Howard said. “Personal stats and all that stuff, that's for social media or likes and stuff like that. Our guys are so locked in on playing the game the right way, sharing the game, being unselfish.
“You look at it and he didn't score a field goal, but he kept us organized offensively and made the right decisions with the basketball.”
Michigan has won four straight true road games in Big Ten play for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
... Livers hasn't missed a single free throw in conference play. He went 8-for-8 against Purdue and is now 29-for-29 from the stripe over seven games.