With 'sense of urgency,' Michigan pounds No. 3 Purdue in dominating fashion
Ann Arbor — Michigan didn’t have to wait long to get another crack at Purdue.
In the second meeting between the teams in six days, the Wolverines made sure they didn’t miss their shot.
Behind big games from the big men, a barrage of 3-pointers in the second half and a sound defensive effort, Michigan picked up a much-needed marquee win and hammered No. 3 Purdue, 82-58, Thursday at Crisler Center.
“We talk about the sense of urgency. We’ve got to go now because we don't have time,” said fifth-year senior guard Eli Brooks, who finished with 18 points and went 4-for-4 from 3-point range.
“We don't have enough games to have games slip away from us. We have to take advantage of the ones that are in front of us, and we did tonight.”
Sophomore center Hunter Dickinson had 22 points and nine rebounds and freshman forward Moussa Diabate added 15 points for Michigan (13-9, 7-5 Big Ten), which made nine of its 12 3-pointers after halftime and held one of the nation’s top offenses to a season low in points.
After finishing the first half with a flourish, the Wolverines kept rolling. They created turnovers, held the Boilermakers to one-shot possessions and limited their downhill drives. They used a 3-pointer from freshman forward Caleb Houstan (14 points) to cap a 17-5 run over both halves and took a 41-29 lead a minute out of the break.
Michigan kept pulling away as it continued to click on both ends. Dickinson rattled in a 3-pointer from the wing. Grad transfer guard DeVante’ Jones (11 points, 10 assists) found Diabate for a soaring left-handed jam and scored a runner off the glass. Then after Dickinson rejected a shot by Jaden Ivey, Brooks buried an open 3-pointer to make it 53-36 with 13:33 to go.
Purdue could only cut the deficit to 13 twice before Brooks played the role of the closer. He scored on three consecutive possessions for Michigan, splashing a pair of deep balls and a jumper to force a Purdue timeout at the 8:14 mark. That couldn’t stop the bleeding for the Boilermakers as Houstan added a 3-pointer of his own to put the Wolverines up, 69-47.
Michigan poured it on and bombed away from deep. Houstan, Brooks and Dickinson each hit their fourth 3-pointer in a little over a minute to provide the exclamation point, 78-52, with 4:01 remaining. From there, Michigan’s lead ballooned to as much as 29 points before the final buzzer sounded and fans rushed the court, a celebration Dickinson admitted he had “mixed feelings” for.
“If you storm the court it means you weren’t expected to win,” Dickinson said. “We felt we had a good shot out there to win the game. We felt there was a couple adjustments on defense we needed to make that we didn’t do in first game that really led to them taking it away from us.
“Coming into this game, we all felt really confident in ourselves, in the game plan and we really executed out there. But, shoot, if they’re going to storm the court, I might as well get in there, too.”
Ivey scored 18, Trevion Williams 12 and Zach Edey 10 for Purdue (21-4, 10-4), which saw its six-game win streak come crashing to an end.
In addition to being held under 60 points for the first time this season, the Boilermakers were outrebounded 35-25, shot 22.2% from 3-point range (4-for-18), shot 44% from the field (22-for-50) and turned it over 14 times.
“They executed better. They were tougher than us. They were smarter than us and they made shots,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said.
“When you get outrebounded the way we did, get doubled up in turnovers and you don’t shoot the ball well, you better be very, very good on the defensive end to have a chance to win the game. We obviously weren’t. When you look at those poor shooting percentages, twice as many turnovers, a lot of breakdowns defensively, you’re going to get beat pretty badly.”
Michigan was locked in from the start. The Wolverines came out firing and made eight of their first 10 shots to set the tone. During one sequence, Dickinson swatted a shot back into Ivey’s face that sent him stumbling to the ground and Diabate followed with a two-handed slam.
On the next possession, Houstan drained a 3-pointer from the wing. Jones scored on a driving layup then came away with a steal for another layup. Diabate scored on back-to-back baskets at the rim, including a three-point play, to give Michigan an 18-10 lead with 14:34 left in the first half.
The offense momentarily stalled as the Wolverines missed shots around the rim and the defense had its hands full with Ivey and Williams, who played much of the first half with Edey in foul trouble. Ivey scored eight straight for Purdue before Williams scored down low and whipped a pass out for 3-pointer to tie it at 24 at the 8:16 mark.
Michigan dominated from that point on and closed the half on a 14-5 run that was fueled by its defense and Dickinson. He knocked down a 3-pointer. He scored in the paint. He fired a pass from atop the key to Diabate for a dunk as the Wolverines rattled off seven unanswered points.
Then after Ivey snapped a six-minute scoring drought with a free throw, Dickinson drained another 3-pointer and muscled up a shot over Williams in the post. Michigan took a 38-29 lead into the break and never looked back.
With another quick turnaround and another opportunity against a ranked foe on Saturday, the Wolverines will look to keep building their postseason resume when they close a four-game, eight-day stretch against the No. 16 Buckeyes.
“I'm going one game at a time. We've got Ohio State next and we've got to focus on them,” Diabate said. “As a team, I believe that we’re not thinking about the NCAA Tournament right now. We just want to play like the team at the bottom. We don't try to think ahead and just stay in the moment.”