WEST LAFAYETTE – By the time they returned to Mackey Arena from their trip to Nebraska, eleven days removed from their trouncing of Indiana, it seemed as if the hope for this season had faded.
Following a resounding win over the Hoosiers, Purdue stumbled in double-digit losses to Michigan State last Thursday and a season-worst 19-point defeat at Nebraska on Sunday.
But before Boilermakers fans cast off this squad off to another bound for mediocrity, Matt Painter’s team delivered one of their finest performances of the season. Right from the start, 16th-ranked Michigan had their hands full against a Purdue team that played with the soundness and enthusiasm that led to a rout of Indiana just a week-and-a-half earlier.
While it led to perhaps the most entertaining game of the 2013-2014 season, it led to more frustration and heartbreak for a Boilermakers team that’s had plenty of it this season.
After leading by 13 points at the half, Michigan rallied in the final 20 minutes to force overtime and then won the game on a last-second shot by Glenn Robinson III to sneak out of West Lafayette with a 77-76 victory. The loss drops Painter’s Boilermakers to 15-13 on the season and 5-10 in the big ten.
Terone Johnson led Purdue with 22 points while his brother Ronnie had 21 but neither were enough to help Purdue snap a three-game losing streak.
Purdue wasted no time showing Michigan that they were in for a game, jumping out to a quick 7-0 lead. The Brothers Johnson-senior Terone and sophomore Ronnie-did most of the damage in the opening 20 minutes as the latter’s layup with 8:33 to go in the half gave Purdue a 24-8 lead. Ronnie finished with 11 points in the first 20 minutes.
But his brother Terone was the star as he knocked down four three-pointers and was 5-of-7 from the field in the first half as his 16 points helped Purdue open up a 37-24 halftime lead. Aiding that was the brother’s defense on Michigan star Nik Stauskus, who hit just 3-of-10 shots from the field in the opening 20 minutes.
Yet early in the final 20 minutes, the Wolverines began to make their move and shrank Purdue’s lead in less than a half. A reinvigorated Michigan offense got the lead as low as one when former Hamilton Southeastern standout Zak Irvin knocked down a three-pointer with 9:16 to go to make it 50-49. Yet the Boilermakers weren’t willing to crack so easily, coming up with a critical basket at many times late in the second half to keep Michigan from getting the lead.
Raphael Davis’ transition layup with 3:17 to go pushed Purdue’s lead back up to 63-56. But Michigan rallied with a quick 6-0 run of their own, capped by a pair of Glen Robinson III free throws to tie the game up with just under two minutes remaining.
Ronnie Johnson put Purdue up with a lay-up with 1:09 to go to give Purdue a two-point lead but Stauskus tied it on a pair of free throws in the final minute. The Michigan guard had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, but his shot was off the mark sending the game to overtime.
In the extra session it went back-and-forth again, but a pair of free throws by Ronnie Johnson with under 30 seconds left gave Purdue a 76-75 lead. After a few defensive stops, Michigan got the ball with 2.9 seconds left with a chance to win. That’s when Robinson got the ball on the long pass at the baseline and drove in, throwing it up towards the hoop and getting the bounce to win the game for the Wolverines.