WEST LAFAYETTE Last night”s 79-43 loss to Purdue was the worst so far this season for the Michigan basketball team. It was so bad, in fact, that Purdue coach Gene Keady (whose Boilermakers were coming off three-straight losses and are considered the worst team he has coached in years) said that his opponents last night looked like “Purdue in blue suits.”
The Wolverines playing their fourth game in seven days could not do anything quite right, and were helpless to stop the Boilermakers (4-8 Big Ten, 12-14 overall), especially Purdue”s sharp-shooting guard Willie Deane. Deane torched Michigan (5-7 Big Ten, 10-13 overall) with a game-high 23 points, including 4-of-9 shooting from behind the 3-point line. He led a 25-3 Purdue charge midway through the first half, which Michigan was never able to retaliate against.
But it was less a potent Purdue offense and more an impotent Michigan one that caused the Wolverines” largest margin of defeat so far this season.
Michigan shot a season-low 24.1 percent from the field, and a season-low 18.8 percent from the 3-point line. Center Chris Young, around whom the Michigan offense likes to rotate, was rendered ineffective by a Purdue team that made it a point to collapse on him every chance it had. Young also failed to win the battle for position with 6-foot-10 Purdue center John Allison.
“Every time I was even thinking of posting up, they had three or four guys just surrounding me at all times,” Young said. “My guards were constantly looking for me, but there was nothing they could do about it.”
Michigan”s offensive success this season has also come from the ability of forwards Bernard Robinson and LaVell Blanchard to create room for themselves for open jumpers, and sometimes, their ability to penetrate. But Blanchard found himself in early