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January 24, 2013

Purdue falls at Michigan

Listen: Coach Matt Painter | D.J. Byrd | Terone Johnson

PDF: Purdue-Michigan Box Score

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - At halftime Thursday night, Purdue led No. 2 Michigan on the Wolverines' home floor by a point.

Great news, right?

Well ...

"We should have been in better position," Coach Matt Painter said afterward.

Indeed, the Boilermakers' lead at the break didn't last, as Michigan, which will be No. 1 next week if it can beat Illinois this weekend, went on to win, 68-53.

Had Purdue held a more considerable cushion at the half, it might have altered the outcome or might not have.

But the point was Purdue could have been up more, leading 33-32 while enduring an atypically unproductive game from center A.J. Hammons and not attempting a free throw before halftime.

Rather, the Boilermakers played against their identity and shot their way to a halftime lead making seven first-half threes on 13 tries, accounting for two-thirds of their scoring.

But you know what they say about living and dying the three …

Purdue was 0-for-9 from distance in the second half.

"In the second half, they made it a lot tougher for us to get shots," said D.J. Byrd, who was 3-of-7 in the first half, 0-for-2 in the second, and scored 11 points. "They were switching and really staying close to a lot of people. We couldn't get an open look, and that's just kind of how it went. It was difficult to get a good shot."

The Boilermakers managed just 20 second-half points and made just a third of their shots overall, their struggles to score factoring heavily into the run of 10 consecutive points Michigan used to go from being down 40-39 at the 15-minute mark to up 49-40 a little more than three minutes later.

Painter was heartened by his team's ability to stave off Nebraska's second-half comeback last week in Lincoln; in Ann Arbor, the situation was different, and so was the opponent.

"We didn't do a good job handling adversity, instead of being more patient, once we got down," Painter said. "We started to press, took too many ill-advised shots and it caught up to us."

Purdue had an opportunity late, though, after Rapheal Davis' three-point play off a put-back trimmed the Wolverines' lead to just five at 6:18. The freshman enjoyed another big game, with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Here's what happened, however: Next time down, Trey Burke penetrated, and fired a crosscourt pass to sharp-shooter Nik Stauskas open on the left wing. His shot was good, pushing it back to eight. After Purdue missed a three, Burke then hit [d]Mitch McGary[/db] for a bucket that pushed it to 10.

"I don't think we played well. We had too many breakdowns," said Terone Johnson, who led Purdue with 14 points. "The first half, we played OK, but they were missing shots. … They had more energy than us in the second half.

"We shot the ball pretty well and we played pretty good ball-screen defense. In the second half we got away from that."

A phase of Purdue's game it's been able to count on lately it had to do without at Michigan, as Hammons took just four shots, making only one, finishing with two points and two rebounds in 24 minutes.

"He just didn't have a good game," Painter said, more than once.

Hammons' presence was missed on the boards, where Purdue was outrebounded 35-29 and gave up several tip-ins, but also on offense. The lack of productivity inside forced Purdue to make outside shots.

It did, for a half, at least.

"We didn't get the ball inside at all," Terone Johnson said. "Their bigs did a good job of pushing Hammons out of there. He's got to get better and we've all got to get better and come back ready to play and get ready for Iowa."

Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2013. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing or using editorial or graphical content, in whole or in part, without permission, is strictly prohibited. E-mail GoldandBlack.com/Boilers, Inc.

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