ANN ARBOR, Mich. – When D.J. Byrd banked in a three-pointer in the middle of the first half to give Purdue a two-point lead, there was a sense that the Boilermakers might actually pull off an upset on the road.
In the second half, those hopes fell apart when Byrd and his teammates suddenly lost their touch from outside.
Trey Burke had 15 points and eight assists and gave No. 2 Michigan a boost on defense, helping the Wolverines shake free of Purdue for a 68-53 win Thursday night. Michigan trailed 33-32 at halftime after the Boilermakers shot 7 of 13 on three-pointers. Purdue then missed all nine of its attempts from long distance in the second half.
They made it a lot tougher for us in the second half, Byrd said. We couldnt get the open looks we were getting in the first half, and we didnt knock down the ones we got. It is frustrating.
Tim Hardaway Jr. added 13 points for Michigan, which has a chance to move to No. 1 in the next AP poll if it can win at Illinois on Sunday. Duke, the current top-ranked team, lost Wednesday.
The Wolverines (18-1, 5-1 Big Ten) trailed by seven in the first half, but Purdue (10-9, 3-3) couldnt keep up its torrid outside shooting. Terone Johnson scored 14 points for the Boilermakers.
Michigan took control with a 14-2 run in the second half. The Wolverines have won 28 of their last 29 home games – the only loss was to Purdue last February.
I thought we did a better job last year on our ball-screen D, and I thought that really helped us, Purdue coach Matt Painter said. With that being said, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, I wouldnt call them the same players. I think theyve made some strides, kind of doing a better job of picking their spots.
Glenn Robinson III – the son of the former Purdue star with the same name – made a three-pointer to put the Wolverines ahead 42-40 and start Michigans decisive run.
This was just another game for me, Robinson said. It was my dream early on to go to Purdue, but I know that Im where I am supposed to be. I love Michigan. This is home.
Burke gave Michigan some energy during one defensive sequence in which he nearly stole the ball at midcourt and then dove on the floor to try to knock it free. Mitch McGary eventually stepped in front of a pass for Michigan, bringing the crowd to life.
Once the crowd gets into it and our bench gets into it, the energy just carries, McGary said. Thats game changing.
Another three-pointer by Robinson made it 49-40, and it was 51-42 after a steal and layup by Burke.
Purdue trailed by as many as 11 before going on a brief run to make it 53-48. Michigan freshman Nik Stauskas answered with a three-pointer.
We didnt do a good job of handling adversity, Painter said. Instead of being more patient once we got down, we started to press.
The Wolverines led 60-48 after McGary dunked on a fast break.
Purdue gave Michigan all it could handle in the first half. After Burke breezed past the defense for a layup, Painter called a timeout just 75 seconds into the game.
His team responded. Byrds three-pointer from several feet beyond the arc gave Purdue a 14-9 lead.Byrd banked in another shot from long distance to put the Boilers up 28-26.
Robinsons one-handed dunk along the baseline late in the first half gave the crowd at Crisler Center something to cheer about, but the Wolverines didnt pull away until much later.
Robinson and Stauskas scored 12 points apiece. Byrd finished with 11.