John Niyo and Tony Paul talk with UM senior guard Katelynn Flaherty, the school's new career points leader. Later: More hoops with James Hawkins and Matt Charboneau. Detroit News
Ann Arbor — It may go down as one of life’s greatest unsolved mysteries.
At least, that’s what Michigan coach John Beilein thought of the critical late turnover in Michigan’s 70-69 last-second loss to then-No. 5 Purdue at Crisler Center earlier this month.
With the game knotted at 69 and Michigan possessing the ball with 10 seconds left, redshirt sophomore wing Charles Matthews drove past Purdue’s Dakota Mathias and had a clear lane to the basket before Mathias reached in and hit the ball out from behind.
Michigan was originally awarded possession with 5.8 seconds remaining before Purdue coach Matt Painter asked for the play to be looked at. After a lengthy review, the officials determined Matthews’ right hand last touched the ball before going out of bounds and changed the call, giving it to Purdue with 6.2 seconds left.
“They (officials) said that there is a camera angle that I could not see that said that it went off our guy's hands,” Beilein said Wednesday. “I got to trust the officiating crew made the right call, but it's still one that will be right along, to me, like who shot JFK? I don't know if we'll ever know the real answer.
“We'll probably know that answer one day in heaven and we're going to all find out.”
Wolverines guard relives pivotal inbounds play in last meeting with the Boilermakers. Angelique S. Chengelis
Matthews said he was surprised at the time that the original call on the floor was overturned.
The turnover eventually led to a Moritz Wagner foul on Purdue’s Isaac Haas, who made the front end of a one-and-one with four seconds left before Matthews’ desperation heave just past midcourt bounced off the front of the rim as time expired.
“No,” Matthews said with a grin when asked if the ball was off him. “To this day, I still didn't even look at the replay. I'm not sure. The refs said it was so it's off me then.”
Fifth-year senior forward Duncan Robinson was on the bench when the game came to a standstill during the replay review but admitted he, too, hasn’t watched the slow-motion footage of Matthews’ controversial turnover.
“To be honest with you, I didn't see the last play on replay,” Robinson said. “I just heard opinions obviously relatively bias considering who I'm talking to. But I've heard mixed reports.
“In the moment (Matthews) swore it wasn't off him, but I think we all do that in the heat of competition. But yeah, just a funky play and it's funny when you get that good of a look at it even in review how there can still be some ambiguity to it all.”
In the end, though, it quickly changed from Beilein drawing up a final play he was convinced was going to win it to losing possession and, ultimately, the game in crushing fashion.
“Yeah, I mean I want to win every game,” Matthews said. “Every game is a big game to me because I just love to win, that's who I am. It would've been pretty big to beat a team like Purdue here and then Michigan State next, so we had two tough teams in front of us. It would've been nice to win both of those games.”
Michigan at Purdue
Tip-off: 7 p.m. Thursday, Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Ind.
Records: No. 25 Michigan 17-5, 6-3 Big Ten; No. 3 Purdue 19-2, 8-0
Outlook: Michigan has a 24-53 record in West Lafayette and has won six of the past 10 overall meetings between the teams…Purdue holds the nation’s longest win streak at 15 games and is 12-0 at Mackey Arena this season.