- Paul Sherman/Daily
By Daniel Wasserman, Daily Sports Writer
Published January 24, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE — Michigan finally got the elephant off its back — the elephant of road woes — but it sat there until the Mackey Arena clock read 00:00.
After leading for almost the entire first half, the Wolverines opened the second half in dominant fashion. With a 10-point lead midway through the second stanza, it looked like Michigan would coast to its first true road win of the season.
But Purdue wouldn’t go away. The final minutes of the Wolverines’ 66-64 victory saw the score go back and forth like a seesaw.
Redshirt sophomore forward Jorgan Morgan made the eventual game-winning dunk, slamming it home and hanging on the rim with authority, to give Michigan a 65-64 lead with 1:31 remaining.
The Boilermakers had multiple chances to take the lead right back, as they continuously collected their misses, but senior Robbie Hummel’s wide-open 3-point attempt clanked out and sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr. grabbed the rebound to seal the win.
“On the road, we would normally be down and the crowd would get to us, but this time we ended up coming back,” Hardaway said. “We were just thinking about our home games — Northwestern and all the other games (like) Minnesota — that (the opposing team) came back, took a lead, and how we finished strong.”
The beginning of the second half belonged to Michigan (6-2 Big Ten, 16-5 overall), whose 10-point lead was the biggest margin of the night for either side. The spurt was largely due to Hardaway, who came out strong in the second half.
The sophomore scored seven points and assisted on a Novak layup during an 11-3 Michigan run. He finished with a game-high 19 points — 13 of which came in the second half.
“I thought (Hardaway’s) hustle, getting that basket, was huge for Michigan,” said Purdue coach Matt Painter. “He’s a rhythm guy — he gets into streaks. ... That’s why I told our guys, ‘Don’t let Tim Hardaway get his head up,’ and we let him get going.”
But Purdue (4-4, 14-7), fighting to turn around its season, wouldn’t go away. The Boilermakers made five second-half 3-pointers, thanks to their hot-shooting seniors.
After Hummel and Ryne Smith traded threes, Lewis Jackson’s and-one play off of a layup gave Purdue its first lead since the opening minutes of the game. The Boilermakers stretched their lead to as many as four on multiple occasions in the second half.
Jackson led Purdue with 17 points and eight assists, and Hummel was close behind, netting 16 and dishing out six dimes.
But the Boilermakers failed to pull away. Michigan tied the game on a layup by freshman point guard Trey Burke and later took the lead, 63-62, on a Hardaway floater that came with just under three minutes remaining.
Redshirt sophomore forward Jordan Morgan followed an impressive showing at Arkansas with another steady performance, scoring 12 and pulling down seven rebounds — a category the Wolverines surprisingly won, 30-23.
Senior guard Stu Douglass also impressed, going on a five-point scoring stretch early on and carrying Michigan on a 10-0 run that gave the Wolverines an early 14-5 lead. The senior, who entered the game averaging just over seven points per game, led Michigan with seven first-half points and finished with 12.
With a roadtrip to Columbus this weekend looming large on Michigan’s schedule, it would seem that the Wolverines would be relieved to finally pick up a true road win. But Beilein was quick to dispel that notion.
“It’s a relief to win another game, but like I said, I don’t dwell on it,” Beilein said. “The ball bounced our way. It wasn’t a mindset. Our mindset’s been the same whether it was at Arkansas, whether it was here, whether it was (at) Indiana.
“The home and the away games — we’re just trying to get wins, guys and gals. We’re just trying to get wins. Whether it’s home or away, it’s the same deal.”
NOTES: Redshirt sophomore Eso Akunne injured his left foot late in the first half and spent the second half on the bench with a boot on. … Sophomore forward Jon Horford, who was supposed to dress for the first time in almost a month, didn’t travel with the team. Horford — recovering from a stress fracture in his right foot — opted to stay in Ann Arbor for additional workouts. “He didn’t feel good in practice,” Beilein said. “He didn’t feel like he could really go 100 percent. He said, ‘Coach, I don’t need to sit around in a hotel room, I need to work out.’ … It was a wise decision by him.”