ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Returning to the court after a week off, the No. 2-ranked University of Michigan took down Purdue behind a standout performance by freshman forward Glenn Robinson III, whose father starred for the Boilermakers 20 years ago.
Robinson's 12 points and nine rebounds helped lead the Wolverines to a 68-53 victory Thursday night at Crisler Center. And although Robinson's contributions came against his father's alma mater, Michigan coach John Beilein said he didn't sense anything special about the way his freshman approached the game.
"Glenn is really, really focused every game," Beilein said. "He's focused every practice. You just don't notice it because he's not a high emotion guy. ... You just don't know what he's thinking, but it's usually very positive thoughts."
By avoiding the upset, the Wolverines (18-1, 5-1 Big Ten) kept themselves in the running for the nation's No. 1 ranking next week.
Unlike the current No. 1 Duke, which was routed by Miami on Wednesday, Michigan kept its challenger at bay with a combination of layups and 3-pointers, and a lot of everything from Robinson and guards Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Nik Stauskas. The quartet combined for 52 points, with Robinson leading the team in rebounds, and Burke in assists with eight.
Michigan slowly pulled away from the Boilermakers (10-9, 3-3). Purdue, which was seeking a season-best fourth consecutive win, maintained a lead for most of the first half, and early into the second. But a 3-pointer from Robinson, followed by a Burke layup and a put-back by Stauskas gave Michigan a six-point lead, at 46-40, that it wouldn't relinquish. Following the game, Beilein complimented his team on its second-half performance.
"We are going to play against better and better teams, which we are going to see every day in the Big Ten," Beilein said. "You have to be poised."
The Boilermakers were led in scoring by Terone Johnson with 14 points. D.J. Byrd (11 points) and Raphael Davis (10) also reached double figures for Purdue. Notably absent from the team's offense Thursday, however, was center A.J. Hammons. The freshman, who averages 10 points per game, took four shots and finished with two points.
"He just didn't have a good game," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "We'll have to go back and look at the film and see what happened."
Purdue, which led 33-32 at the break, hit 7-of-13 first-half 3-point attempts, including three long field goals by the senior Byrd. One of Byrd's connections, from the top of the arc, banked in to allow the Boilermakers to reclaim an advantage in the half's waning minutes.
Byrd paced Purdue by scoring all 11 of his points in the first half, followed by starting guards, and brothers, Terone and Ronnie Johnson, with eight and three points, respectively. Davis also added three first-half points for Purdue.
While the Boilermakers were making the most of their outside opportunities in the first half, the Wolverines, who are usually 3-point sharpshooters, found their points easiest to come by inside.
The Wolverines hung close with layup after driving layup, punctuated once by a powerful baseline slam by Robinson. Robinson finished the half with six points, and was one of five Michigan players with five or more points in the first 20 minutes.
In the second half, however, Purdue's fortunes from 3-point range dipped considerably. The Boilermakers were 0-for-9 in 3-point attempts, in part thanks to a defensive change by Michigan.
After covering Byrd with Stauskas in the first half, the Wolverines switched Hardaway onto the Purdue guard in the second. Hardaway shut Byrd down and the Wolverines essentially did the same to the Boilermakers, who scored a mere 20 points after halftime.
"We didn't do a good job of handling adversity," Painter said. "Instead of being more patient when we got down, we pressed and took too many ill-advised shots and it caught up to us."
NOTES: Michigan committed just nine personal fouls in the game, including two in the first half... Although Burke shot under .500 for the game (6-of-14) he committed only one turnover to complement his eight assists ... Purdue's rebounding leader for the night was Davis, who grabbed eight boards.