The eighth seeded Wolverines faced the fourth seeded Boilermakers in the semi-finals of the Big Ten Tournament, falling short 76-59. Purdue dominated the interior, and will advance to play the winner of Michigan State/Maryland Sunday in the championship game. Michigan will hold its breath in hopes that their last second magic against Indiana will be enough to send them into the NCAA Tournament.
Purdue dominated the paint early with points down low from Hammons and Swanagan. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman stopped the bleeding scoring Michigans first basket, ending Purdue’s 8-0 run. Five points by Donnal brought us to the first TV timeout at 15:29 with the score 10-7 favoring the Boilermakers. Later on in the half we saw Haas overpower Wagner in the paint putting Purdue up two, but Irvin answered with a mid range two to tie the game up at 21-21. Michigan started shooting 0/3, but since then they shot 8/10. U-M missed 10 of last 12, but early shooting success kept them in the game. The scoreboard made the game look closer than it actually was as we ended 38-30 at halftime. Purdue shooting 50% from the floor with only three turnovers.
Purdue came out in the second half hot starting with a 6-0 run. Michigan was getting dominated on the boards, and missed their first eight shots. When we see Michigan start to get cold from beyond the arc, we typically see the wolverines suffer on the scoreboard. They were shooting 3/15 up to this point. Haas and Hammons continued to get easy inside looks that killed U-M down the stretch. Later on we saw a transition three by Irvin, followed by a steal and break-away and one by Walton that brought the Wolverines down six. That wouldn’t be the case for long as Hammons countered with five points. The Wolverines were deflated, looking flat on defense when they were unable to contain Purdue big men. Edwards scored 5 for the Boilermakers and we started to see Michigan give up late in the game. AJ Hammons finished the game with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks.