Michigan Hands Purdue First Home Loss of Season
Purdue came into Friday evening’s matchup riding a four-game winning streak against tough competition, but this challenge against #7 Michigan proved to too much for the Boilers. It didn’t help that less than two hours before tip-off, it was announced that Purdue’s Big-10 leading 3-point shooter, Sasha Stefanovic, had tested positive for COVID-19 and would miss at least the next three games. It turns out that Steponovic had started developing symptoms on Wednesday, so Matt Painter was able to hold two practices to try and develop a game plan without him. The Boilers needed their guards to step up in this one, but their inexperience proved to fall short. Jaden Ivey, coming off his thrilling game-winning three-pointer at Ohio State, got the start in Stefanovic’s place and contributed a season high 31 minutes. However the magic for Ivey wasn’t there on this night as Ivey went 0-5 from the three-point line, and gave up three costly turnovers. The rest of the Boiler squad didn’t have anyone else step up to fill Stefanovic’s shoes either. The team went 2-12 for the night from three-point land and gave up 14 turnovers. They also shot just 30% from the field the entire night. This was a night where Purdue needed Trevion Williams to dominate like he did last year at the Chrysler Center when he had his career-best 36 point, 20 rebound game. As it turned out, Williams was decent, putting his normal double-double performance with a 14-11 line. Williams also held Michigan upcoming star center, Hunter Dickinson to 8 points and 3 rebounds. Not a bad performance, but Purdue needed more from the rest of the team, and on this night it just wasn’t there.
After playing a rugged schedule of four games in a 9-day stretch, Purdue can still hold their heads high after going 3-1 in that stretch. They now get eight days to rest and prepare a better gameplan of how to play without Stefanovic. They will certainly need a better plan and execution against a rising Minnesota team who just recently destroyed Michigan by 18 points earlier this week. Things certainly won’t get any easier for the Boilermakers with 10 games left on the fierce Big 10 schedule.