Michigan shows fight but upset bid falls short against No. 4 Purdue

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

West Lafayette, Ind. — When Michigan walked into a raucous Mackey Arena, it had its sights set on leaving with a signature win.

The Wolverines came close. They put up a fight against one of the top teams in the nation, clawed back from a 12-point second-half deficit and trailed by four with two minutes remaining.

But Michigan couldn’t get enough stops against one of the best offenses in the country and faded down the stretch as its upset bid against No. 4 Purdue fell short in an 82-76 loss on Saturday.

“It's frustrating to lose,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “And those young men, they brought it, they competed. They competed in a tough environment with a really good team. And I love how our approach was from start to finish.”

BOX SCORE: Purdue 82, Michigan 76

Sophomore center Hunter Dickinson tied his career high with 28 points but had a pair of critical turnovers in the final 1:39 for Michigan (11-9, 5-5 Big Ten), which shot 55.8% from the field (29-for-52) and made eight 3-pointers but never led.

After trailing by as much as 12 in the first half, the Wolverines got off to a strong start out of the break behind Dickinson. He made his first three shots in the second half — a pair of jumpers and a layup — and his last basket cut Purdue’s lead to 45-44 at the 16:47 mark.

Purdue guard Jaden Ivey (23) dunks against Michigan forward Brandon Johns Jr. (23) during the first half.

The Boilermakers (20-3, 9-3) shrugged off the threat, made eight straight shots and maintained control thanks to Jaden Ivey. He spearheaded a 16-5 run with three consecutive baskets in the paint, an assist to Trevion Williams in transition for a dunk and added two free throws as Purdue pulled ahead, 61-49 with 11:43 remaining.

Michigan turned up the pressure and deployed a full-court press to cut it back to single digits. After forcing a 10-second backcourt violation, Dickinson knocked down a mid-range jumper. Then after getting another stop, grad transfer guard DeVante’ Jones scored in the paint to make it a seven-point game.

The press continued to give Purdue problems as Michigan kept battling. After the Boilermakers pushed the lead to 12, the Wolverines rattled off seven unanswered points on layup from Jones, three free throws and a hook shot from Dickinson to trim it to 68-63 with 5:46 remaining.

“It's a game of runs. I think this team did a great job of keeping our composure when we weren't making shots,” said Jones, who finished with 13 points. “I feel like our defense held us together and we were able to make our own run.”

Even after Purdue extended the lead to nine with less than four minutes to play, Michigan hung around. The Wolverines used four free throws from freshman forward Caleb Houstan (11 points) and Dickinson to cut it to five. Then after Williams missed the front end of a one-and-one and Purdue came away with the offensive rebound that led to an Ivey layup, Jones buried a corner 3-pointer to make it 76-72 with 2:19 left.

But that’s as close as Michigan would get. After getting a stop, Dickinson turned the ball over. Then after Ivey made two free throws, Dickinson turned the ball over again on the next offensive possession. From there, Purdue closed out the game by making six free throws in the final 1:20.

“We need to take care of ball better down the stretch because it's winning time,” Dickinson said. “We've got to do a better job of executing the plays that coach calls for us and not turn over the ball.”

Ivey scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half, Williams added 19 points and Zach Edey had 13 points for Purdue, which won its fifth straight and stopped a five-game losing streak against Michigan. The Boilermakers shot 51.7% from the field (30-for-58) and 81% from the free-throw line (17-for-21) to overcome a season-low five made 3-pointers.

“I thought Michigan did a great job of keeping us off base (on offense),” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “We had some really good looks that didn’t go down for us. We had some 3s that we liked that didn’t go, some shots around the rim … where I think in time those shots would go in.

"Sometimes you look at it and you get results-based, and you really should be process-based. Just take good shots. We didn’t rely too much on our 3s in the second half and we just said take what they give you.”

The early stages of the game featured a healthy helping of touches for the big men before Purdue showed off its outside shooting. The Boilermakers drained three deep balls within a three-minute span, started 4-for-7 from deep and jetted out to a 20-8 lead, forcing a Michigan timeout with 12:32 left in the first half.

But after a slow start on offense, Michigan recovered and found its footing with an 11-for-13 shooting stretch. The Wolverines countered with a 7-0 spurt that featured a driving layup and corner 3-pointer from fifth-year senior guard Eli Brooks to cut it to 22-17 at the 9:55 mark.

Then after Purdue pushed the lead back to 10 on back-to-back dunks by Ivey, the Boilermakers went cold from beyond the arc and the Wolverines started to heat up. Michigan rattled off an 11-2 flurry that featured three 3-pointers and was capped by back-to-back deep balls from Dickinson to pull within 32-31 at the 4:31 mark.

From there, the empty possessions piled up for the Wolverines and they trailed 39-33 at halftime. But Michigan won’t have to wait long to get another crack at Purdue. After traveling to Penn State on Tuesday, the Wolverines will host the Boilermakers in their rescheduled rematch on Thursday.

"We'll see them again," Howard said, "and we'll be ready to compete.”


Twitter: @jamesbhawkins