Michigan started slowly at Purdue but heated up late in the first half, pulling to a 36-21 halftime lead with a barrage of triples. Junior Isaiah Livers’ return and freshman Franz Wagner’s 22 points led the Wolverines to a convincing, 71-63 road win at Purdue, improving U-M to 9-7 in Big Ten play.
Michigan went through some struggles on offense, but its defense was smothering throughout. Senior center Jon Teske’s recent offensive struggles continued early. He missed two shots in the paint early and picked up his first foul, going to the bench in the first few minutes. U-M made only one of its first five triples, a game-opener by Wagner, and two of its first nine shots in falling behind by four.
Livers, though —back from an ankle injury — tripled on his second attempt to give the Wolverines a 10-9 lead.
Simpson started 0-for-3 from long range on wide-open looks, but sophomore David DeJulius provided a spark. His long three-pointer at 9:30, followed by a Teske jumper, made it 17-11 Wolverines at the 9:00 mark. Livers made it 19-11 with a drive and finish, at which point the Boilermakers were 4-for-19 from the floor.
The Wolverines went cold again. Sophomore forward Brandon Johns missed a pair of corner threes, wide-open, and Purdue big man Trevion Williams scored four points inside to cut a 21-13 U-M lead in half.
Michigan responded again. They followed a Juwan Howard timeout at 4:10 with a great set for Livers inside; Wagner’s second triple put Michigan up 26-17. Teske’s triple following a Williams finish inside made it 29-19, and U-M had all the momentum heading into the last two minutes of the half.
The onslaught continued. U-M got another triple from Wagner and outscored the Boilermakers 7-2 down the stretch, getting dunks from Wagner and then Teske on the pick and roll, Simpson finding him for one of his five, first-half assists.
Wagner led the Wolverines with 11 first half points, Teske added nine and Livers seven.
Michigan missed a chance to open the lead when Teske missed at the rim, and the Boilers cut it to 12 in the first two minutes. The Wolverines missed their first four shots of the second half, and Purdue cut it to 10 on a Jahad Proctor drive and finish before Livers finally ended the run at 16:45 with a cut and finish.
U-M regrouped and took a 41-27 lead at the first TV timeout when Wagner was goaltended on another impressive drive to the rim. The Wolverines lost junior guard Eli Brooks, however, when he butted heads with Purdue’s Nojel Eastern and left the game bleeding. He wouldn’t return.
Redshirt junior big man Austin Davis started to get into the act offensively. He scored three points for the Wolverines, and U-M maintained its 15-point lead, 44-29, at the second TV timeout at 11:59. Purdue was shooting 30 percent for the game at that point, only 1-for-8 from long range.
Purdue continued to fight. The Boilers cut it to 11 to get the Mackey Arena crowd back into the game, but the Wolverines responded again. DeJulius hit a free throw and Wagner got into the paint for a finish.
Davis picked up his fourth foul on the next trip, but Teske replaced him at the nine-minute mark and found Wagner inside again. The Wolverines were back up 15 with eight minutes remaining, forcing a Purdue timeout.
Michigan continued to work inside. Livers scored on an inbounds play, and after a turnover lead to a Purdue bucket — only U-M’s second miscue of the game — Teske scored inside to push the lead back to 15.
Purdue scored the next four, however, to pull within 11 at the 5-minute mark.
The Boilermakers continue to claw back with the help of missed Michigan free throws. Simpson and DeJulius both miss the front ends of one-and-ones, but Purdue missed at the rim at 1:50 with a chance to cut it to eight and the Wolverines got to the double bonus. A Proctor jumper cut it to 58-49 and a free throw made it 58-50, but Purdue would get no closer.
Michigan made enough free throws down the stretch to finish 15-for-23 from the line, putting the game away after making only three of their first nine.
Livers added 19 points and Teske 11 to help offset an 0-for-10 showing from the floor by Simpson. Williams led Purdue with 18 points but made only eight of 21 shots.