WEST LAFAYETTE — The Michigan men’s basketball team came into Mackey Arena undersized and undermanned.
No. 20 Purdue boasts one of the best frontcourts in the country. Meanwhile, the Wolverines are without senior guard Caris LeVert, who’s sitting out his second straight game as he recovers from a left leg injury.
With LeVert on the sideline, Michigan trails Purdue 35-28 at halftime.
Junior forward Mark Donnal started at the ‘5’ position for the second straight game after impressive performances against Illinois and Penn State. But Michigan coach John Beilein had a short leash on his big men in the first half.
Redshirt freshman D.J. Wilson — who has been Michigan’s last big off the bench this season — was the first one off it on Thursday. Wilson replaced Donnal less than two minutes into the contest after Donnal picked up a foul. But Wilson didn’t last long himself and was replaced by sophomore forward Ricky Doyle after committing a foul. The rotation continued with freshman Moritz Wagner subbing in for Doyle after a Doyle foul. Wagner committed his own foul shortly after entering.
Four minutes. Four different big men. Four fouls.
On the offensive end, sophomore Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who started in place of LeVert, went 4-for-8 from the field and leads all scorers with 10 points at the half. Redshirt sophomore guard Duncan Robinson went 2-for-4 from deep and contributed eight points in the frame.
Michigan hung with Purdue early, but a 12-0 run late in the first half pushed the Boilermakers out in front before the end of the half.