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Burke rescues Wolverines as Michigan rallies to beat Purdue

The SportsXchange

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Trey Burke almost single-handedly kept Michigan in the Big Ten title race.

The sophomore point guard scored 22 of his 26 points in the final 12:14 to help No. 7 Michigan defeat Purdue 80-75 on Wednesday night. He made seven of eight free throws in the final 55 seconds.

"As the game went on and we got down to crunch time, he was excellent," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "They did a great job of keeping him from getting the ball in the start of that second half. That threw us for a loop and we had to get used to that. Once we made some adjustments, we were much better at scoring."

Nik Stauskas scored 17 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 16 for Michigan, which remained in contention for a share of the Big Ten title. Michigan hosts league leader Indiana on Sunday in the season finale for both teams. The Wolverines trail the Hoosiers by a game in the standings.

"If somebody's going to win this thing why can't it be us?" Beilein asked. "Nobody's worked harder than us. Everybody's worked hard, so why can't it be us? Let's just go for it."

The Wolverines (25-5, 12-5 Big Ten) trailed by 12 with 12 minutes left before rallying.

"We simply couldn't stop them the last eight minutes," Purdue coach Matt Painter said.

Terone Johnson led Purdue with a career-high 32 points. Rapheal Davis had 15 points and nine rebounds and Sandi Marcius added a career-high 13 points for the Boilermakers (14-16, 7-10).

Purdue had a chance to tie in the closing seconds, but Ronnie Johnson's pass to his brother, Terone, was too hard, and the Boilermakers turned the ball over with two seconds remaining. Burke made two free throws at the other end to close the scoring.

Purdue was coming off a 69-56 win over No. 17 Wisconsin. Painter was pleased to see the Boilermakers play two solid games in a row against ranked competition.

"We're getting better," he said. "I wish we were doing this six weeks ago."

Glenn Robinson III scored right out of the break, and Hardaway followed with a bucket to tie the score at 34 in the opening minute of the second half.

In a significant change of momentum, Burke stole the ball from Dru Anthrop, but Davis stole it right back, scored and was fouled to give Purdue a 41-34 lead.

Matt Vogrich hit a 3-pointer to cut Purdue's lead to 45-39, but the Boilermakers responded with a 3-point play and a layup by Terone Johnson to bump the lead to 11. Purdue's largest lead was 52-40.

Burke made a 3-pointer, then another bucket, to cut Purdue's lead to 52-45. Stauskas' 3-pointer with just over nine minutes left trimmed the Boilermakers' advantage to 54-48.

Michigan kept surging. A pair of free throws by Robinson made it a three-point game, and a free throw by Burke trimmed Purdue's edge to two.

Burke scored again on a floater that made it a one-point game.

A 3-pointer by Hardaway gave the Wolverines a 64-62 lead, and a 3 by Stauskas pushed Michigan's lead to five with 2:27 to play. The game tightened, but Purdue never led the rest of the way.

Beilein said overcoming Purdue's early surge was a challenge.

"I really applaud my coaching staff and my team for really staying united, for really helping everybody get through that," he said.

Michigan ran out to a 21-9 lead in the first half. Marcius scored Purdue's first nine points to keep the Boilermakers in the game. Michigan led 24-14 before Terone Johnson hit a 3-pointer to make it a single-digit game.

Davis followed with a 3 to cut Michigan's lead to four, and another 3 by Terone Johnson made it 28-25. A layup by Davis made it 28-27 with just over three minutes left in the first half.

A dunk by A.J. Hammons finally put the Boilermakers ahead. Terone Johnson hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the first half to give the Boilermakers a 34-30 lead.

Terone Johnson scored 13 points in the first half. Hardaway scored 11 for Michigan.

Even though Terone Johnson scored 19 in the second half, Burke was just a little better. Burke also had seven assists, five rebounds and three steals.

"Nothing surprises me," Beilein said. "Here's what I know every day. He's going to play hard and he's going to play as smart as he can."

NOTES: Burke entered the game leading the Big Ten with 6.9 assists per game. Ohio State's Aaron Craft and Indiana's Kevin Ferrell were tied for second with 4.4. ... Michigan won the first game between the teams, 68-53, on Jan. 24 in Ann Arbor. ... Robinson's father, Glenn Robinson Jr., attended the game. His number is in the rafters at Purdue. Former Purdue coach Gene Keady also attended the game.
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