Purdue Rallies To Beat Michigan On Senior Day

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Just two years ago, Purdue finished last in the Big Ten under Matt Painter.
The coach hit the recruiting trail hard after his first season in charge and convinced players like Keaton Grant to be a Boilermaker. Painter followed up with another strong class, adding the likes of Robbie Hummel and E'Twaun Moore.
Turnaround accomplished.
Moore and Grant each scored 17 points and Hummel added 10, helping No. 15 Purdue put together a run at the right time to put away Michigan 72-58 Sunday and earn sole possession of second place for the first time since 2000.
"We had to fight to get to this position," said Painter, a former Gene Keady assistant. "We were able to sell some young guys by saying, 'You can come to Purdue and play immediately.' When you're in last place, that's what you have to do when you're building a program. All of these guys knew how successful coach Keady's program was.
"We took a big step this year, but it's bittersweet because we didn't win the Big Ten."
Purdue (24-7, 15-3) lost two of its last five games to finish one game behind Wisconsin and a game ahead of rival Indiana.
"It was bittersweet because we were so close," Moore said. "But there's nothing we can do about it now, so we just have to go into the Big Ten tournament and take care of business."
The second-seeded Boilermakers will play Friday night at nearby Conseco Fieldhouse against the winner of the Penn State-Illinois game.
Michigan, seeded ninth, will play No. 8 Iowa on Thursday afternoon in Indianapolis.
The Wolverines (9-21, 5-13) can only hope to respond to a poor season under first-year coach John Beilein as Purdue did for Painter.
Michigan set a school record for losses -- surpassing the 20 it had during the 1959-60 season -- by losing four of the last five games after showing signs of improvement.
"I've seen great progress and I hope you have," Beilein said.
Like many games, the Wolverines played well for stretches but lost because they fell apart at crucial times.
"This will hit them hard because nine times we had the lead in the second half and we only won four of those games," Beilein said, referring to the second half of the conference season.
Michigan didn't trail Purdue until there was 6:53 left in the first half, led at halftime and was ahead 50-46 midway through the second half.
"We always come out and play hard," said Michigan's Ekpe Udoh. "We just don't play hard the whole 40."
The Boilermakers took control with a 21-4 run.
Grant's 3-pointer with 7:38 left put Purdue ahead for good as part of an eight-point run in a 44-second span that allowed the Boilermakers to coast to an easy victory.
"We took their best blow," Grant said.
Michigan's DeShawn Sims scored 19 and Udoh had 13 points, nine rebounds, a career-high six assists and three blocks.
Manny Harris added 10 points despite being benched for much of the first half. Beilein insisted Harris was out because of two fouls, not his three turnovers.
Both Purdue and Michigan have young teams, but the Boilermakers made that fact moot in Painter's third season.
"We knew we would come in here and be good as a team," said Moore, a freshman guard. "But we didn't know we would be this good this early."


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