WEST LAFAYETTE – Neither team broke 40% shooting, but freshman Franz Wagner scored a career-high 22 points for Michigan and the Wolverines won their fifth straight game, beating Purdue 71-63 at Mackey Arena this afternoon. Trevion Williams led Purdue with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Evan Boudreaux had a Purdue-career-high with 15 rebounds. The Boilers have lost four straight.
- There just wasn't enough offense: Purdue had its opportunities against the Wolverines. Michigan missed a ton of open shots and finished at just 38% from the field, including 0 for 8 beyond the 3-point line in the second half. Playing at home and getting that kind of poor shooting from an opponent, this was a game the Boilermakers should have won. They lost because they couldn't get anything going consistently on offense all afternoon. The Boilers were frustrated by an aggressive, swarming Michigan defense in the halfcourt, it didn't make enough of the open looks that it did manage to get, missing too many layups in close and going 4 for 16 from beyond the 3-point line. It was the Ohio State game all over again, with Purdue's opponent getting nearly every 50-50 ball and the Boilers struggling for every basket. Purdue only forced three Michigan turnovers and that meant the Boilermakers didn't get hardly any opportunities to get out and run and get easy points that way. Michigan's defense was very, very good and the Wolverines are playing with a ton of confidence, but it left the door open with poor shooting. Purdue couldn't run through it for the same reason.
- Evan Boudreaux keeps playing: The Purdue big man continues to be his team's hardest worker inside. In the first four minutes of the game, he grabbed five rebounds to help the Boilers get off to a good start and battled under the rim all afternoon, crossing the double-digit rebounding mark less than a minute into the second half, only his second double-digit rebound game of the season. His hard work under the rim was badly needed as Purdue lacked energy at times and he helped keep the crowd in the game with each hard-fought rebound. With Michigan's offense running circles around the Boilermakers for much of the game, his defensive rebounding also ensured that the Wolverines would get fewer opportunities on that end of the floor.
- Trevion Williams wasn't superman: Williams played like the best big man in the country the last time these teams met, pouring in 36 points and grabbing 20 rebounds. Michigan couldn't stop him and the Boilermakers went to him over and over again as the rest of the offense struggled. Today, the offense struggled again and Williams once again tried to bail the Boilers out. Instead, Michigan's Jon Teske frustrated him down low, mostly refusing to allow him access to the basket and Williams finished a disappointing 8 for 21 from the field. His final stats weren't bad – he had his second straight double-double and he battled for the most part – but Michigan was ready with a different gameplan against the sophomore this time, not throwing a complete double team at him, but having guards jump in from the perimeter with active hands to make life difficult for him. Purdue also turned the ball over more than once when it tried to get the ball into him and he wasn't open. It was a terrific coaching adjustment from Michigan's Juwan Howard.
Player of the Game: Franz Wagner
The talented Michigan freshman went 9 for 13 from the field and added five rebounds, three assists and two steals to his scoring total. He also helped Teske in guarding Williams and committed only one turnover. It was his second career 20-point game and he finished one point shy of his career-high.
Facts and Figures
The Boilermakers have lost back-to-back home games for the first time since March 2014, when they dropped three straight. ... Purdue has lost four straight overall since its win over Indiana on Feb. 8. ... Michigan also beat Purdue 84-78 in double overtime in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Jan. 9. ... The Wolverines came in winners off four straight by an average of 16.5 points. ... The Boilermakers entered the game among the "First Four Out" in ESPN's latest NCAA Tournament projections. ... Zavier Simpson, the nation's leader in assists entering the game with eight per contest, had six against the Boilermakers today and seven rebounds. ... At halftime, Purdue's Robbie Hummel and Bruce Parkinson (the team's all-time leader in assists) were recognized after being inducted into the Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday. ... Among those in attendance were long-time Boilermakers coach Gene Keady, 1984 Big Ten Player of the Year Jim Rowinski and East Noble graduate Brad Miller. Miller, a two-time NBA All-Star who played for the Boilers from 1994 to 1998, spoke at halftime and fans received Miller bobbleheads upon entering Mackey Arena.
The Boilermakers are back in action Thursday, when they welcome Indiana (17-9, 7-8 Big Ten) to Mackey Arena for the 211th all-time meeting between the in-state rivals. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1. The Boilermakers beat the Hoosiers 74-62 in Bloomington on Feb. 8, the sixth straight win for Purdue in the series and ninth in the last 10 meetings. It's the best stretch for the Boilers in the rivalry since the 1930s. Indiana hasn't won in West Lafayette 2013.