Men’s Basketball: Wolverines Rally, but Fall to No. 5 Boilermakers in Final Seconds

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — After trailing No. 5 Purdue for the first 35:30 of the game, the University of Michigan men’s basketball team fought back to take the lead but ultimately fell short of the Boilermakers in a 70-69 setback on Tuesday night (Jan. 9) at Crisler Center. The Wolverines are now 9-1 at home this season.

The Wolverines had four players score in double figures — sophomore Zavier Simpson (15), juniors Charles Matthews (14) and Moritz Wagner (11) and freshman Isaiah Livers (10). Simpson matched a career high in scoring and to grabbed a career-high six rebounds. Livers scored in double figures for the third straight game.

After leading, 39-32, at halftime, Purdue started the second half just as they had the first: with a quick three. U-M sank three triples over 1:04 to come within four, 46-42, with 16:27 to go in the game.

The Wolverines cut their deficit to one point on four separate occasions before a Matthews triple tied the game at 58 with 7:23 remaining which evened the score for the first time since the 16-minute mark of the first half.

Purdue answered with a three of its own before Simpson hit back-to-back triples to give U-M its first lead of the night, 64-61, with 4:30 to play. A Livers layup at 2:51 gave the Wolverines a 69-66 advantage. The Boilermakers tied it up shortly after with another triple, their 12th of the night. The game remained tied until the final four seconds when Michigan’s seventh team foul sent Isaac Haas to the free-throw line to shoot 1-and-1. Haas hit the first attempt and missed the second;  Livers grabbed the rebound off the rim and found Matthews, whose last-second long-range three went in-and-out to seal the 70-69 win for Purdue.

The Boilermakers jump-started the first half with a triple, a foreshadowing of the rest of the half, to get on the board first. Purdue added five threes in the middle of the half over a 6:26 span to take its biggest lead of the contest, 30-16, at 7:21.

The Maize and Blue used a 12-2 run to cut Purdue’s lead to 32-30 at the 2:19 mark. The run began with a Wagner layup before senior Duncan Robinson blocked a Purdue layup attempt and added a layup of his own. Robinson then sunk a pair of free throws to make it a 6-0 run. Less than one minute after checking into the game, freshman Jordan Poole added a triple followed by a Matthews three to get the Crisler crowd on its feet. Poole scored two more points to cap the run with just over two minutes remaining in the half. Purdue used a 7-2 run to finish the half with a 39-32 lead.

Overall, the Boilermakers shot 70 percent from beyond the arc in the first half (7-for-10), which accounted for 54 percent of their first-half points (21-of-39).

Heading into tonight’s game, the Boilermakers had won by an average of 22.8 points per game this season.

Next up, Michigan will travel to East Lansing, Michigan, to face off against rival Michigan State on Saturday (Jan. 13). The game is scheduled for a noon tipoff and will be broadcast live on FOX.


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