In what might have been a trap game for the Michigan basketball team Thursday night, the Wolverines survived a sloppy first half to hold off Purdue, 75-66.
With wins over three top ten teams in succession, it was understandable that Michigan might struggle in the early going.
While parts of their game suffered, No. 10 Michigan (16-4, 8-0) continued its hot shooting both inside and outside. Michigan hit 28 of 46 (60.9%) from the field, including 7 of 13 from behind the arc. Caris LeVert, a 6-6, 185 lb guard, had a old-fashioned double-double, snatching a game- high 11 rebounds while scoring 14 points.
Sophomore Nik Stauskas scored a team-high 16 points, while freshman Derrick Walton, Jr. added 14 and Jordan Morgan pulled down six rebounds to go along with 11 points.
Michigan coach John Beilein was thrilled to come out of the game with a win. The Wolverines finished with 16 turnovers compared to only 10 assists. “With that (the 16 turnovers), you have to shoot great, and you have to defend enough, to get a 10-point victory over Purdue or whatever it was, Beilein said at his press conference. “We’re pleased that we kept our heads above water.”
Beilein also credited Purdue for causing some of Michigan’s turnovers with their quickness. Purdue, which dropped to 3-5 in the conference and 13-8 overall, was led by 7-0, 251-lb center A.J. Hammons with 16 points and eight rebounds.
The first half featured a pair of runs. Michigan started the game with a 16-6 run as Walton, Stauskas. and LeVert all made three-pointers. Then the wheels fell off.
Between some errant shooting, uncharacteristic turnovers, and some sloppy defense in the paint, the Boilermakers whistled their way to a 19-18 lead. Purdue, however, showed why it’s stuck in the middle of the Big Ten standings by going 0-6 from the 3-point arc, and 28 percent from the field in the first half.
The Wolverines, who average just nine turnovers per game, had eight in the first half. They were still able to pull away to a 37-29 halftime lead thanks to 13 of 24 shooting from the field.
Michigan travels to Bloomington Sunday to face the Hoosiers at 1 pm. In the final regular season game a year ago, Indiana defeated Michigan 72-71 to rob the Wolverines of a share of the Big Ten regular season title.♦
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer