It was an overtime nail-biter in West Lafayette. Purdue, looking for their first win against a top-25 opponent, instead falls just one point short in overtime after Glenn Robinson III banked in a buzzer-beating shot that gave first place Michigan the road win, 77-76.
They were just 2.9 seconds away.
Instead, Robinson III leaped to grab a precarious cross-court lob, dribbled once, faked in the air, and sent a roller off the window that ignited the Michigan bench. Mackey arena went silent except for two Purdue fans, Robinson’s father, Glenn Jr., who was a Boilermaker himself and a No.1 overall NBA draft pick, and brother, Gelen Robinson, who will be suiting up for Purdue’s football team. Glenn Jr. celebrated with his son in the tunnel after the game.
Robinson led the Wolverines in scoring with 17 points and was the most dominate player wearing maize and blue in the second half. “This game always means a lot to him,” Michigan coach John Beilein said after the game. “Glenn just made a play.” That’s about as enthused as Beilein should’ve been as Michigan hasn’t strung two wins together in nearly a month and almost suffered a huge let down after besting in-state rival Michigan State in Ann Arbor.
The Wolverines got off to a pitiful start, down 10 points in the opening minutes and at one point in the first half facing a 19-point deficit. The crowd was electric and the Boilermakers looked speedy and confident. The Wolverines struggled to counter with a surge of their own all game and instead chipped the lead down to 24-37 at the half, and didn’t get back to even until there was only 1:44 left in regulation, thanks to going just 17-25 from the free throw line.
Purdue only missed one free throw the entire night, but it was the most crucial. With just seconds left in the game, Kendall Stephens missed the first shot of a 1-and-1, allowing Michigan to rebound, get to the other end of the floor, and call a timeout with 2.9 ticks left on the clock. While Beilein was drawing up the play that would likely go to Nik Stauskas, the top offensive threat for the Wolverines, Robinson seemed adamant that he wanted the ball. He got it and scored at the buzzer to improve Michigan’s record to 20-7, which is good for first place in the Big Ten, while Purdue falls to 15-13. The Boilermakers couldn’t help but hang their heads on the way to the locker room.
Michigan is ranked 16th overall in men’s hoops. With three games left, the Wolverines are hoping to secure their first outright regular-season Big Ten title since 1986, but have challenging matchups against Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana upcoming.
Terone Johnson, Boilermaker guard who led the game with 22 points, said, “We thought we had the game in our hands,” but instead it was another heartbreak. Purdue has lost three straight after this defeat to first place Michigan at the buzzer and falls to 10th place in the Big Ten.
By Matt Stinson
The Kansas City Star