Michigan 87, Purdue 78. And it wasn’t even that close.
The TV where I watched the game tonight had a terrible picture. The score was virtually incomprehensible all game, I couldn’t tell whether it was Laval Lucas-Perry or DeShawn Sims playing defense, and I undoubtedly missed several interpretive dances from Ed Hightower.
Somehow, that made it make more sense.
The Michigan Wolverines, losers in an embarrassing game at Iowa, in which (in my admittedly biased opinion, of course) the referees essentially decided the game with inconsistent officiating in the last minute of regulation, beat a top 25 team yet again. The Purdue Boilermakers, who escaped with a win against Michigan in their home arena thanks in part to an egregiously bad call against Manny Harris, fell to the Wolverines by a margin of 9 points, and the margin really felt much further apart. I don’t mean to make this post entirely about officiating in other games, because the Wolverines’ performance shouldn’t be diminished by focusing on things outside their control, much less those that happened days or even weeks ago.
DeShawn Sims and Manny Harris were the players we all know they can be tonight, and though Manny still wasn’t getting the calls that Michigan fans think he should be getting, the team leaders, both from Detroit (where John Beilein clearly will never be able to recruit), were able to put up big numbers against the Boilermakers and lead their team to victory. The role players, who until now have been taking turns with huge games, were able to each step up enough without any one player going ballistic from long range.
Michigan is back on the bubble, and Purdue’s chances of winning the Big Ten are reduced to basically zero. These stakes were set before the game, and Michigan was able to use the motivation to come away with a huge road win against a top-25 team, and Purdue was sent home knowing they heavily rely on Michigan State to choke in order to even have a chance to take the regular-season crown.