While the Michigan men’s basketball team’s regular season passed like an eternity, Sunday’s game wrapped up in less then a minute.
The Wolverines dropped their 13th Big Ten game of the year, 72-58, to No. 15 Purdue.
Michigan had a two-point lead with just under nine minutes remaining. Forty-four seconds later, the Boilermakers led by six.
Following a Keaton Grant 3-pointer that gave Purdue a 51-50 lead, the Boilermakers stole the inbounds pass and converted it for two points. Thirty seconds later, Grant launched another 3-pointer to close out the scoring spurt.
The quick turnaround began a 21-4 Purdue run to end the game.
“It’s not good,” redshirt junior C.J. Lee said. “We play 32 minutes of good basketball and then it comes down to the same stuff we’ve been doing all year long.”
Turnovers and poor shooting – the Wolverines’ troublesome trademark all year – plagued them again in the second half. Michigan committed 15 turnovers and shot just 33 percent from the field.
The Wolverines (5-13 Big Ten, 9-21 overall) couldn’t stop the Boilermakers’ hot shooting. Purdue shot 58 percent from the floor and hit 55 percent of its shots from beyond the 3-point line in the second.
Guard Keaton Grant, who knocked the wind out of Michigan’s upset bid at Purdue in January, torched the Wolverines again with 13 second-half points and 17 points overall.
“Sometimes things just don’t go our way,” freshman Manny Harris said. “This year it hasn’t been going our way, and we haven’t been playing all 40 minutes of basketball.”
The second frame was a stark contrast to the first 20 minutes. Led by sophomore Ekpe Udoh, who put in an impressive first-half effort with 10 points, eight rebounds and three assists, the Wolverines turned the ball over less and played with more tenacity.
Michigan’s overall effort and physical play held Purdue (15-3, 24-7) to just 26-percent shooting and allowed the Wolverines to take a 31-29 lead into the half.
Udoh garnered the biggest applause of the evening when he blocked the Boilermakers final shot attempt before the half. The play was the exclamation point to a successful 20 minutes and gave Michigan momentum coming out of the locker room.
But the Wolverines didn’t get any offensive help from Harris, their star player and leading scorer. The Detroit native had tallied a then-career-high 25 points against the Boilermakers in January and was coming off a career high 29-point performance against Penn State last week.
Harris spent most of the first half on the bench because of foul trouble and contributed just two points. When he did play in the second frame, the Boilermakers’ tough defense held Harris to eight more points for a game total of 10.
“He can beat you in a lot different ways, and sometimes it has to happen to you before you truly believe it,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “We knew we had to stop him first and foremost if you’re going to stop Michigan.”
With less than a minute remaining and the Wolverines essentially stopped, Crisler Arena was eerily quiet.
Just like the game, Michigan’s never-ending regular season ended with a whimper.