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Posts Tagged ‘Terone Johnson’

A win is a win: Michigan 77 – Purdue 76, OT

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

UM celebration vs Purdue 2-26-14(Dustin Johnson, UMHoops)

Basketball, like most sports, is a game that can have wild outcomes from time-to-time. When trying to throw a nine-inch ball into an 18-inch rim from 20-some feet away, that is to be expected. Still, some guys are better at shooting that ball, and teams with those players generally prevail – but not always.

Michigan is a team this season that is incredibly skilled on offense, capable of dominating any team in the nation when the shots are falling. But when shots aren’t falling, weird things happen.

On Wednesday night, the Wolverines simply couldn’t throw that orange ball into the orange rim no matter how open their looks were. Purdue, their opponent, on the other hand, seemingly couldn’t miss – despite being a poor shooting team on average.

Coming into last evening’s clash at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Michigan led the Big Ten with a 47.9 percent shooting mark from the floor, while Purdue lagged a ways behind at 42.7 percent. The teams’ three-point shooting numbers – 39.4 percent for Michigan and 33.9 percent for Purdue – also heavily favored the visitors.

Jordan Morgan came up huge, especially in overtime, finishing with 13 points and nine boards (Dustin Johnson, UMHoops)

Jordan Morgan came up huge, especially in overtime, finishing with 13 points and nine boards (Dustin Johnson, UMHoops)

For the first half, however, things couldn’t have been more different. The Boilermakers, playing for pride and a potential NIT bid in a lost season, connected on their first three shots and ran out to a 19-point lead over Michigan just over 12 minutes into the first half on their way to making 52 percent of their field goals (13-of-25) and 45.5 percent of their threes (5-of-11). At the 7:43 mark of that first half, Purdue was more than tripling – TRIPLING – Michigan’s score.

The Wolverines, on the other hand, touting a roster with five regulars shooting better than 39 percent from deep, made just eight of their 27 shot attempts in the first half (29.6 percent) and a meager 2-of-10 threes (20 percent).

This wasn’t supposed to happen. After ousting Michigan State in a thrilling come-from-behind victory three days ago in Ann Arbor, Michigan was all but crowned conference champion with four games remaining over bottom-half Big Ten teams and a one-game lead over those Spartans. At some point, perhaps the Maize and Blue bought into the hype, or maybe Purdue was fed up with being walked all over.

Whatever it was, Purdue was cruising to victory. Near the end of a dominant first half, the Boilermakers took a brief stumble and allowed Michigan to cut the lead to single digits, but a couple of Wolverine mistakes and Boiler buckets later and the halftime lead was a still very large 13 points.

Then, inevitably, Michigan started clawing back into the game as we’ve seen so many times this year. Sure, the Wolverines’ poor opening play in some games has left all of us fans frustrated, but there is no denying the fight in this team.

As has been the case all season, Michigan’s deficit started shrinking – 11, nine, seven, then just four points with a whopping 12:44 left to play. Certainly, Purdue’s nominal lead would continue disappearing, all the way to zero, before the boys in Blue ran away with it.

But that didn’t happen either. In fact, Purdue never trailed Michigan for 40 minutes. Despite a continuous battle and even a couple of ties, Michigan never got over the hump and looked like they would fall victim to the trap game, giving Michigan State a glimmer of hope in the Big Ten title race.

Again, Michigan fought, earning a chance to win it with the final shot at the end of regulation. And despite Nik Stauskas’s clanger off the rim to end the second half, the Wolverines had to feel good about sending this game to overtime.

With A.J. Hammons out of the game on fouls and five more minutes of game time, Michigan had a golden opportunity to steal yet another road victory, and it looked like they would after grabbing their first lead of the night just 30 seconds into the extra period.

But Purdue wouldn’t go down easily either. Fueled by Ronnie and Terone Johnson and near-perfect free throw shooting, the Boilermakers proved resilient enough to grab the lead back with 31 seconds remaining, and seemed primed to close the game out when Kendall Stephens was sent to the line for a one-and-one opportunity with 13 seconds left. After 17 straight made free throws for Purdue, two more didn’t seem like a big deal, but Stephens missed, giving Michigan one last chance.

Glenn Robinson III somehow managed to get this winning shot to fall (Dustin Johnson, UMHoops)

Glenn Robinson III somehow managed to get this winning shot to fall at the buzzer (Dustin Johnson, UMHoops)

Caris LeVert, who struggled shooting the ball (4-of-12 FG), raced up the court, danced around for a second, and then huddled up with the rest of his team when John Beilein called a timeout with 2.9 seconds on the clock.

This was it. Michigan faced a one-point deficit with less than three seconds to go. Make a basket, and the game is won. Miss, and well, maybe missing was never an option.

Out of the timeout, LeVert inbounded on the side out-of-bounds line and threw a high rainbow to the far corner to a leaping Glenn Robinson III, whose 12 second half points had kept Michigan alive. Robinson, one of the best athletes in the country, leapt up high over Raphael Davis, came down with the ball, gave a quick head fake, took one dribble toward the basket, and threw up a shot off glass – all with his dad, former Purdue All-Everything forward and first overall NBA selection Glenn Robinson, watching. The ball, seemingly moving in slow motion, hit off the backboard, bounced a couple times off the side and front of the rim, then gently trickled through that 18-inch rim. The buzzer sounded, and the game was over.

On a night when Michigan’s two leading scorers combined for 29 points on a miserable 9-of-30 mark from the field, the Wolverines somehow got it done.

There’s a certain resilience about this team that is both refreshing and encouraging, but there’s also a certain tendency of falling behind that seems concerning.

But a win is still a win, and now only three games separate these Wolverines from an outright Big Ten championship and an almost certain top-three seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Glenn Robinson III said it best after the game: “It’s a great win for us. We competed hard and came out with the victory.”

At this point in the season, every win is great.

Three Stars:

***Terone Johnson***
22 points (7-of-14 FG, 4-of-8 3PT, 4-of-4 FT), four rebounds (one offensive), three assists, three turnovers in 41 minutes

**Glenn Robinson III**
17 points (7-of-11 FG, 0-of-1 3PT, 3-of-4 FT), eight rebounds (two offensive), three assists, one turnover in 39 minutes

*Ronnie Johnson*
21 points (9-of-15 FG, 1-of-3 3PT, 2-of-2 FT), seven assists, four rebounds, two steals, four turnovers in 41 minutes

Quick Hitters:

 Senior Terone Johnson continued to be a big pain for Michigan, going for his third career 20-point game against the Wolverines — something he has only accomplished seven other times in his career. But this time it was done through some terrific outside shooting while brother Ronnie did major damage in the paint. The guard duo combined to make an excellent 5-of-11 threes and all six of their free throws while leading five Boilermakers in double digits.

 Michigan’s ball movement was mostly effective tonight, and it shows with their outstanding 19 assists on 27 made buckets to just seven turnovers. Five Wolverines – LeVert, Stauskas, Spike Albrecht, Jordan Morgan, and Robinson III – recorded at least three assists a piece and only Stauskas and Derrick Walton, Jr. turned it over more than once. Still, Purdue managed to win the points off turnover battles, getting 13 to Michigan’s 11 points on 11 Purdue cough-ups.

Final Game Stats
01 Glenn Robinson III* 7-11 0-1 3-4 2 6 8 2 17 3 1 0 0 39
10 Derrick Walton Jr.* 2-6 2-6 2-4 2 2 4 0 8 1 2 0 1 24
11 Nik Stauskas* 5-18 0-4 5-7 1 1 2 2 15 3 2 0 0 41
52 Jordan Morgan* 6-8 0-0 1-3 3 6 9 3 13 3 0 1 2 33
23 Caris LeVert* 4-12 2-5 4-4 3 4 7 1 14 4 1 0 1 41
02 Spike Albrecht 1-5 0-3 0-0 0 0 0 2 2 4 1 0 2 21
15 Jon Horford 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 3 0 0 0 1 0 11
21 Zak Irvin 2-4 2-4 2-3 0 1 1 1 8 1 0 0 0 15
Totals 27-65 6-23 17-25 14 23 37 14 77 19 7 2 6 205
Purdue 26-63 7-24 17-18 14 25 39 17 76 15 11 4 3 205
Full Stats

Sam’s 3 thoughts: Purdue

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Michigan-Purdue header2

After a thrilling victory over Michigan State on Sunday, the Michigan Wolverines can smell an outright Big Ten championship. Win out, and the conference crown is theirs. Lose any of the four remaining games, however, and Michigan’s quest for glory could get very interesting. Tonight, Michigan has the chance to put one more game in the rear view mirror and inch ever closer to their regular season goal with a game at Purdue (7 p.m. on Big Ten Network).

For most teams, this game would be a classic trap, considering the matchup with a team that has already been felled with relative ease coming right on the heels of a monster rivalry win, but Michigan has seemed somewhat immune to the trap game meme under Beilein the past few years. Here are my three keys for the Wolverines to get the job done in West Lafayette.

Focus, Focus, Focus: It’s hard to argue against Michigan as one of the best two or three teams in the Big Ten this season. It’s also hard to argue against Purdue as one of the two or three worst teams in the Big Ten. If both teams play up to their abilities this evening, the Maize and Blue should record their third conference series sweep to date after taking two from Michigan State and Nebraska, but ifs are never certain.

The Wolverines need to approach this matchup just as they would a big rivalry game or a conference-deciding game, because, quite simply, it is. At this point in the season, Purdue is playing for pride, but sometimes that’s even harder to get past than a team still in it. No Boilermaker wants to see the team lie down and get run over by the stronger Michigan squad, and if Michigan gets complacent, it could be the other way around. A focused Michigan team, on the other hand, should get the job done.

A.J. Hammons scored 16 against Michigan in the first meeting (John Underwood)

A.J. Hammons scored 16 against Michigan in the first meeting (John Underwood)

Clog the Paint: Purdue is one of the few teams in the league that can’t put some sort of stretch lineup on the floor, and with only three respectable shooters, Michigan needs to recognize the scouting report and pack it in. The Boilers’ starting guards, Ronnie and Terone Johnson, both make slightly better than 36 percent of their threes on the season — a great improvement from last year — but they take fewer than a quarter of their shots from downtown.

Kendall Stephens, another guard who started Purdue’s last game over Nebraska, is the third who is a threat from deep at 38.6 percent on the season, but he is a one-dimensional shooter (81 percent of his attempts are from outside the arc) who should be easy to slow down if Michigan pays attention to defensive assignments. Beyond those three, no regular makes better than 32 percent of his threes, and as a team the Boilermakers connect on just fewer than 34 percent of their treys (ninth in the Big Ten). They also attempt the second-fewest in the league.

In addition to this ineptitude, Purdue’s biggest threat to Michigan has to be sophomore big man A.J. Hammons. The 7’0″, 251-pounder was the only Purdue player who seemed to frighten Michigan at all the first time around in the Wolverines’ 75-66 win in Ann Arbor. He scored 16 points on 7-o-f-14 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds. While Hammons has had an up-and-down season, including three straight games with no more than eight points, seven rebounds, or seven shot attempts, he is capable of putting up big numbers like the 20 and 14 he had in a triple-overtime thriller over Minnesota or the 18 and 16 he put up against Ohio State in the conference opener.

Tonight, look for Michigan to throw a couple different defensive looks at Purdue like they did so effectively in the win over Michigan State on Sunday to help slow the behemoth down low.

Move the Ball Intelligently: We’ve seen this Michigan team have turnover issues here and there and we’ve also seen some games in which the offense has devolved into a Caris LeVert dribbling academy. In the first showdown with Purdue, it was more of the former, as the Wolverines carelessly turned the ball over 16 times, allowing for the Boilermakers to score 12 points off cough-ups and keep the game within fighting distance.

Before the win on Sunday, Michigan had recorded at least nine turnovers in nine straight games, but the minuscule three giveaways against the Spartans is a very hopeful sign moving forward. If Michigan is careful with the rock tonight and gets everyone involved offensively, it should be a very long night for the home team and another victory for the road warriors.

Prediction: One of the many things to love about this year’s Michigan team is that each player seems to sincerely mean it when he tells you that every game matters. Most teams are visually more or less involved in certain games depending on the opponent, relative importance of the game, or previous results, but Michigan plays in a way that the last game’s result is sometimes hard to recall. Tonight, I expect much of the same, as the Wolverines take a victory home from West Lafayette for the third straight season by an 80-69 margin.

Derick’s 3 thoughts: Purdue

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Michigan-Purdue header

Last Saturday, Michigan capped off an eight day stretch of wins over third-ranked Wisconsin on the road, 10th-ranked Iowa at home and third-ranked Michigan State on the road. It was quite possibly the best three-game regular season stretch in Michigan history.

Tonight, the Wolverines come back to earth a bit with a matchup against Purdue. It’s a classic trap game with Michigan coming down off the high of three straight big wins and looking ahead to another brutal stretch that starts next Saturday.

While Michigan is hoping to stay atop the Big Ten standings, Purdue is fighting for its NCAA Tournament life, needing a signature win tonight to add to its resume. The Boilermakers will have added confidence after watching both Penn State and Northwestern waltz into Columbus and Madison and pull off upsets last night. Here are my three thoughts for what it will take for Michigan to beat Purdue tonight.

1. Don’t fall for the Big Ten trap: The message was loud and clear for the rest of the Big Ten on Wednesday night: don’t sleep on any conference team at any venue. The last-place Penn State Nittany Lions shocked Ohio State in Columbus to drop the Buckeyes to poor 4-5 start in the Big Ten.

Shortly afterwards, Northwestern walked into the Kohl Center and manhandled the Wisconsin Badgers in the second half to pick up its fourth win of the conference season. In a year when road wins have been so difficult to come by in the Big Ten, two bottom-feeder teams upset ranked opponents back-to-back on the road and shook up the already-surprising Big Ten standings.

Michigan needs to look no further back than two seasons ago, when Purdue defeated the Wolverines in Crisler Arena on Senior Day to ruin the perfect season in Ann Arbor. John Beilein’s team got complacent in the friendly confines of its home arena and allowed the Boilermakers to steal a valuable conference win.

2. Drive to the rim: Before welcoming Wisconsin to West Lafayette last Saturday, Purdue had played seven straight single-digit games, hanging with teams like Ohio State and Minnesota and taking down Illinois on the road. The Badgers ended that streak by pounding Matt Painter’s team 72-58.

The formula for success: get to the free throw line. Wisconsin shot 33 times from the charity stripe Saturday to Purdue’s 13. Driving to the rim allowed Wisconsin to put the Boilermakers in foul trouble and control the pace of the game. Wisconsin’s 27 made free throws almost doubles the difference in the game, and Purdue didn’t help itself by shooting just 3-17 from beyond the arc.

Michigan’s guards should make scoring in the paint a focal point tonight. Caris LeVert and Nik Stauskas have proven to be magicians finishing around the rim this season, and freshman point guard Derrick Walton Jr. had two enormous three-point plays against Michigan State. Purdue lacks the guard talent to slow down Michigan’s trio, and if the Wolverines decide to attack early, the Boilermaker guards will be on their heels all night.

3. Feed the beasts: There were all types of possible scenarios for Michigan when Mitch McGary announced he would be out indefinitely after having back surgery, but few thought it would actually make the team better. Thanks to the play of Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford, it undoubtedly has.

Morgan has always been one of the strongest post defenders in the conference throughout his Michigan career. He’s battled inside with the likes of Jared Sullinger, Meyers Leonard and Cody Zeller effectively while still helping the guards with effective ball-screen hedges out top. His issue has been helping on the offensive end, but lately he has been more of a contributor. After scoring a season-high 15 points at Nebraska, the redshirt senior has shot a combined 12-of-14 with 22 rebounds in the four games since.

Horford, on the other hand, has developed some nice touch around the rim and finishes nearly everything within 10 feet. Though his minutes have been limited by Morgan’s effectiveness lately, Horford has shot 11-for-13 with 21 rebounds and six blocks in his last five games.

Michigan may not have its preseason All-American center in late January, but the duo of Morgan and Horford is providing more than enough support on both ends of the court. Beilein’s offense doesn’t normally run through the post, but with the efficiency these two veterans have shown during the Big Ten season, Thursday may be a good time to give the big men a shot.

Prediction: While it’s hard to ever feel safe in the Big Ten, the Crisler Center has been extremely kind to Michigan during the ladder part of Beilein’s tenure as head coach. The Wolverines are 54-9 at home the past four seasons. Matt Painter always has his team ready to play, so Michigan will need to avoid a hangover from the three straight top-10 victories that propelled it back up to No. 10 in the nation. Michigan’s talented guards need to keep taking care of the ball and the post players will protect the rim on the defensive end, giving the Wolverines the edge 77-65.

Michigan hoops preview: Purdue

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Michigan vs Purdue banner
#10/14 Michigan (15-4, 7-0) vs Purdue (13-7, 3-4)
Thursday, Jan. 30 | Ann Arbor, Mich. | 9 p.m. EST | ESPN
77.3 Points/gm 74.3
(511-1,054) 48.5 Field Goal % 42.8 (524-1,224)
(163-417) 39.1 3-pt FG % 33.7 (118-350)
(284-378) 75.1 Free Throw % 66.7 (320-480)
14.9 FT Made/gm 16.0
33.5 Reb/gm 40.1
15.5 Assists/gm 13.3
9.3 Turnovers/gm 11.7
64.3 Points/gm 69.6
(454-1,049) 43.3 Field Goal % 40.7 (470-1,156)
(107-324) 33.0 3-pt FG % 31.3 (121-386)
30.9 Opp. Reb/gm 36.2
5.7 Steals/gm 6.1
2.9 Blocks/gm 5.9
Individual Leaders
N. Stauskas (18.5), G. Robinson III (13.6) Points/gm Terone Johnson (13.4), R. Johnson (10.6)
Mitch McGary (8.3), Jon Horford (4.9) Reb/gm AJ Hammons (6.8), Errick Peck (4.8)


Three straight wins over top ten teams in an eight day span catapulted Michigan up the national rankings and to the top of the Big Ten standings. Michigan has now won at Wisconsin, Michigan State, Minnesota and Nebraska in addition to three home wins, and with the rest of the Big Ten becoming more and more unpredictable by the day, Michigan has been the one constant.

But the unpredictability also means that Michigan can’t afford to ease off the gas or overlook an opponent. Last night, Penn State knocked off Ohio State in Columbus and Northwestern topped Wisconsin in Madison. No one saw one of those upsets coming, let alone both of them back-to-back.

With Purdue coming to town tonight, Michigan won’t have the underdog status to lean on for inspiration like it did the past three games. It will take a focused effort to stave off an upset against a Boilermaker squad that can’t afford any more losses if it has any hope of sneaking into the NCAA Tournament. Do the Boilers have what it takes to stun Michigan in the Crisler Center? Or will Michigan continue its hot streak? Let’s take a look.

The Starters
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Terone Johnson (G) 30.3 13.4 41.8 36.8 62.8 4.1 2.3 1.4 0.2 0.9
Ronnie Johnson (G) 26.1 10.6 42.8 41.4 64.2 2.6 3.7 1.8 0.0 0.5
AJ Hammons (C) 22.4 9.7 52.7 00.0 68.3 6.8 0.6 2.5 3.3 0.4
Basil Smotherman (F) 20.0 6.1 59.5 12.5 57.1 4.2 0.8 0.6 0.2 0.5
Rapheal Davis (G) 16.6 4.8 39.7 31.6 67.5 3.0 1.1 1.0 0.3 0.4
The Others
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Bryson Scott (G) 16.5 7.5 37.0 57.1 75.4 2.6 1.5 1.1 0.2 1.2
Kendall Stephens (G) 19.1 7.4 35.8 36.3 76.9 1.7 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.3
Jay Simpson (F) 12.4 4.8 44.6 20.0 59.1 4.0 0.7 1.0 0.4 0.5
Errick Peck (F) 18.7 4.5 46.8 35.0 64.3 4.8 0.9 1.1 0.5 0.3


The Schedule
Date Opponent Score
Nov. 8 Northern Kentucky W 77-76
Nov. 13 Cen. Connecticut St. W 109-73
Nov. 17 Rider W 81-77
Nov. 20 Eastern Illinois W 82-67
Nov. 24 Siena W 81-73
Nov. 28 #5 Oklahoma State* L 87-97
Nov. 29 Washington State* L 54-69
Dec. 1 Siena* W 68-63
Dec. 4 Boston College# W 88-67
Dec. 7 Eastern Michigan W 69-64
Dec. 14 Butler^ L 70-76
Dec. 17 Maryland-Eastern Shore W 79-50
Dec. 22 at West Virginia W 73-70
Dec. 31 #3 Ohio State L 69-78
Jan. 5 at Minnesota L 79-82
Jan. 12 Nebraska W 70-64
Jan. 15 at Illinois W 66-58
Jan. 18 Penn State W 65-64
Jan. 21 at Northwestern L 60-63 2OT
Jan. 25 #9 Wisconsin L 58-72
*Old Spice Classic, #Big Ten/ACC Challenge, ^Crossroads Classic

Purdue hasn’t beaten anybody of note this season, the best win being a 73-70 victory on Dec. 22 at West Virginia, a team that is currently 12-9. The Boilers lost to then-fifth-ranked Oklahoma State by ten in the opening round of the Old Spice Classic and then fell by 15 to Washington State, which is currently just 8-12. In conference play, Purdue’s three wins have come against Nebraska, Illinois and Penn State by an average of five points.

The Series

Purdue is one of the few Big Ten teams that holds a considerable lead on Michigan in the all-time series. Michigan trails 64-84, but the Wolverines have won three of the last five. Michigan holds a slim lead all-time in Ann Arbor, 39-33.


• Michigan is 7-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since the 1976-77 season

• Michigan is 54-9 at home over the last four seasons

• Michigan leads the Big Ten with an overall shooting percentage of 48.5, up from 48.4 percent last season

• Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford have combined to average 14.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and shoot 78.2 percent since Michigan lost Mitch McGary

• Coming off a 19-point performance against Michigan State, Derrick Walton Jr. has now scored in double figures in four of seven Big Ten games. He reached double figures in just four of Michigan’s 12 non-conference games

Michigan vs Purdue quick thoughts

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

#2 Michigan vs Purdue
Thursday, Jan. 24 | 7pm ET | ESPN
17-1 (4-1) Record 10-8 (3-2)
Slippery Rock 100-62
IUPUI 91-54
Cleveland State 77-47
Pittsburgh 67-62
Kansas State 71-57
NC State 79-72
Bradley 74-66
W. Michigan 73-41
Arkansas 80-67
Binghamton 67-39
West Virginia 81-66
E. Michigan 93-54
C. Michigan 88-73
Northwestern 94-66
Iowa 95-67
Nebraska 62-47
#9 Minnesota 83-75
Wins Hofstra 83-54
UNC-Wilmington 66-40
Clemson 73-61
Lamar 72-39
Ball State 66-56
William & Mary 73-66
#11 Illinois 68-61
Penn State 60-42
Nebraska 65-56
West Virginia 79-52
#15 Ohio State 53-56 Losses Bucknell 65-70
Villanova 81-89 OT
Oregon State 58-66
Xavier 57-63
E. Michigan 44-47
#22 Notre Dame 68-81
#18 Michigan State 61-84
#15 Ohio State 64-74
79.3 Points/Game 66.8
59.5 Scoring Def. 61.1
526-for-1,032 (51.0%) FG % 450-for-1,064 (42.3%)
410-for-1,008 (40.7%) Def. FG % 390-for-1,018 (38.3%)
154-for-376 (41.0%) 3-point % 80-for-253 (31.6%)
116-for-366 (31.7%) Def. 3-Pt % 85-for-275 (30.9%)
222-for-311 (71.4%) FT % 223-for-355 (62.8%)
12.1 FT Made/Gm 12.4
37.2 Reb/Game 41.2
28.8 Opp. Reb/Gm 34.1
15.9 Assists/Gm 13.8
9.7 TOs/Gm 12.7
5.5 Steals/Gm 5.2
2.8 Blocks/Gm 4.9
G – Trey Burke (18.0) G – Tim Hardaway Jr. (16.4) Lead. Scorer G – Terone Johnson (13.3) G/F – D.J. Byrd (10.4)
F – Glenn Robinson (5.8) F – Mitch McGary (5.7) Lead. Reb. C – A.J. Hammons (6.3) G – Terone Johnson (4.7)

Last week Michigan had perhaps its two toughest games of the season within a five-day period when the Wolverines traveled to both Columbus and Minneapolis to take on top-15 Ohio State and Minnesota on the road. They came out of the brutality with a respectable 1-1 mark after avenging the Sunday loss to the Buckeyes with an impressive 83-75 win over the Golden Gophers.

Now, they look to carry that momentum into tonight’s game against the struggling Boilermakers of Purdue before entering another very difficult stretch in the Big Ten season. Still without a signature loss on the resume, Purdue will come out tonight with their best effort to take down the team everyone seems to be talking about. If Michigan gets through this game and a Sunday battle in Champaign, Ill. unscathed, the Wolverines will likely be rewarded with the top ranking in the country, but a loss tonight would again hold them back. Here are three keys to the game:

1. Make Purdue Shoot: There is really no secret as to why Purdue has struggled thus far in the 2012-13 season and has lost to the likes of Bucknell, Villanova, Xavier, and Eastern Michigan: they can’t shoot the basketball. Senior D.J. Byrd has taken nearly half of Purdue’s threes and makes them at a decent clip (36.5%), but there are very few others on Matt Painter’s roster that provide a consistent deep threat. Of the players who see more than 10 minutes of court time per game, Raphael Davis makes the highest percentage of his bombs at 38.5 percent, but he has only taken 13 shots from behind the arc, and junior Terone Johnson has improved his stroke this year, but his 35.2 percent rate from three is unimpressive.

None of the six other Boilermakers who play significant minutes make even one quarter of their deep looks, and half of those guys have yet to attempt a trey all season. Michigan continues to struggle at times defending the long ball, most recently letting Minnesota nail half of their 16 three-point attempts, but they would be well-advised in this game to dare Purdue to beat them with shots they are uncomfortable taking. Obviously, it would be unwise to leave Byrd open or anybody else wide open on a consistent basis, but Michigan can and should bait Purdue into taking contested three-point looks as opposed to contested looks in the paint, where they are likely to execute better.

2. Play Aggressive Defense: One of the hotly-debated topics in college basketball these days, particularly for Michigan fans, is the strategy involved in teams that foul frequently versus teams that foul infrequently. The Wolverines are in the latter category, putting their opponents on the line fewer times per 40 minutes than any other team in the country, and John Beilein likes it that way. But many argue that Michigan can afford to play tougher defense, even though it may result in more fouls, as long as it also improves their aggressiveness on the defensive end and causes teams to shoot a low enough percentage to make it make sense. The time to try this might never be better than tonight.

Leaving Purdue off the free throw line will not avoid much damage, as the Boilermakers only make 63 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe as a team, but it could lead to more open looks and easy layups. Terone Johnson, A.J. Hammons, and Ronnie Johnson (Terone’s brother) will rarely beat anyone from long range or from the free throw line (60.1% combined), but they can make layups. Terone Johnson destroyed Michigan on Senior Day in Ann Arbor last year, spoiling the Wolverines’ undefeated home record, by lowering his shoulder and driving hard to the hoop en route to 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field (0-for-1 from downtown). Michigan needs to make sure they are playing strong, aggressive team defense to close all driving lanes on players like Johnson to make Purdue work hard for any basket or shot they get.

Terone Johnson ruined Michigan's senior night last season

3.Get Stauskas Involved: Michigan has all the makings of a team that can make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament in March – an All-American point guard, a cold-blooded veteran scorer, a variety of options down low, a superb athlete that finishes everything around the hoop, and a dead-eye shooter – but for that dream run to become a reality, Michigan will need every part clicking. Trey Burke has been about as consistent as it gets and Tim Hardaway, Jr. played tremendously in the win at Minnesota, but freshman Nik Stauskas has been regressing slightly in conference play.

Earlier in the season, the Canadian sniper was making nearly two-thirds of his three-point looks and surprised the crowd more when he missed a deep bomb than when he made one. His swagger was off the charts and he mentioned a couple time how he could not wait to play in the hostile road environments in the Big Ten. Last week, however, Stauskas went scoreless against Ohio State and put up 11 on Minnesota, combining to go 1-of-7 from deep, showing that he still has a ways to go before becoming a bona fide scorer.

He will continue to be an integral part of this team’s season, though, and Michigan would be wise to get him as many open looks as possible tonight to get his confidence back on track and his shooting percentage a couple points up. The two games last week ended a 12-game streak in which Stauskas drained multiple threes every night out, and the donut marked the first time since early November that he failed to score double-digits. Nik has already shown that he is much more than a one-dimensional shooter and can produce even when his shot is slightly off, but his best asset is still that deadly stroke that can be such a game-changer in close battles. Watch for Beilein to draw up a couple of set plays to get Stauskas open looks and look for him to lead the team in scoring with around 18 points.

Prediction: Purdue has won three straight games against lesser talent and will be looking for a signature, resume-making win tonight in Ann Arbor, but the Boilermakers simply do not have the talent or the shooting to get the job done. Michigan should put the game away by halftime and roll after that behind a strong performance from Stauskas and a double-double from Mitch McGary. Wolverines move to 18-1 with an 82-58 win.

Purdue 75 – #13 Michigan 61

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Final 1st 2nd Total
#13 Michigan (21-8, 11-5) 28 33 61
Purdue (19-10, 9-7) 32 43 75

Zack Novak hit four threes on Senior Night, but it wasn't enough (photo by Carlos Osorio, AP)

A day that began as festive with Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, and Corey Person being honored on Senior Night turned sour pretty quickly as Michigan dug itself a hole that it couldn’t climb out of against Purdue. With a chance to wrap up a perfect home record for the first time in 35 years and remain in the Big Ten title hunt, Michigan fell 75-61.

Purdue scored the first two baskets of the game as Michigan missed its first five shots before finally getting on the board nearly three minutes into the game on a Jordan Morgan dunk. But Purdue reeled off eight straight to build a 12-2 lead. Michigan pulled within three, but in what would be come a theme of the night, Purdue answered the charge with a run of its own, scoring seven straight to take a 19-9 lead.

Michigan battled back once again, playing the final ten minutes of the first half evenly before going into the locker room trailing 32-28.

Morgan got the second half scoring started with a layup but Purdue’s Terone Johnson scored six straight to widen the Boiler lead to eight. Michigan then went on a 12-2 run over the next four minutes to take its first lead of the game, 42-40, with 12:19 remaining. However, Purdue wouldn’t let Michigan take over, recapturing the lead and building it to seven.

A Tim Hardaway jumper with pulled Michigan to within four with 4:36 to play, but back-to-back threes by Robbie Hummel sealed the game for the Boilers. Michigan was forced to launch threes and foul in an attempt to come back, but it was not to be.

Purdue got a career high 22 points out of sophomore guard Terone Johnson who entered the game averaging 7.6. His previous high was 16 against Wisconsin on January 12, but on this night he hit 9-of-12 from the field and all four free throws to steal the thunder from the Michigan seniors.

Novak and Trey Burke led the way for Michigan with 12 points apiece while Hardaway added 10. Novak hit 4-of-10 three-point attempts, but Hardaway missed all six of his tries.

Purdue shot 50 percent from the field and 7-of-15 from three-point range, and the Big Ten’s worst free throw shooting team hit 14-of-16 from the line. The Boilers came in with a great offensive game plan that Michigan was unable to solve. On nearly every possession, the Purdue guards used the high ball screen to draw a mismatch with Morgan guarding a guard up top, who then drove to the basket. Rather than switch to a zone, Michigan had no answer.

At 21-8 overall and 11-5 in the Big Ten, Michigan still has an outside shot at a share of the Big Ten title, but it would require Michigan State to lose both of its final games, at #24 Indiana and home against #9 Ohio State, and Michigan would have to win its final two. The next one is Thursday at Illinois before closing the regular season at Penn State next Sunday.

Final Game Stats
52 Jordan Morgan* 4-7 0-0 0-2 3 3 6 1 8 0 0 0 0 25
00 Zack Novak* 4-11 4-10 0-0 3 3 6 4 12 2 0 0 0 37
01 Stu Douglass* 3-7 1-4 0-0 0 4 4 1 7 5 1 1 1 34
03 Trey Burke* 4-12 2-6 2-2 0 1 1 2 12 4 4 0 0 37
10 Tim Hardaway Jr* 5-13 0-6 0-0 1 5 6 2 10 1 4 0 0 34
02 Carlton Brundidge 1-3 1-3 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
13 Matt Vogrich 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 2 3 0 0 0 0 11
20 Josh Bartelstein 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1
22 Blake McLimans 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
23 Evan Smotrycz 2-3 1-2 0-0 0 2 2 1 5 0 0 0 0 17
32 Corey Person 2-3 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 0 4 0 0 0 0 1
45 Colton Christian 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Totals 25-60 9-32 2-4 9 22 31 15 61 12 9 1 1 200
Purdue 27-54 7-15 14-16 6 25 31 8 75 12 5 2 5 200