No. 7 Michigan visits streaking Purdue

NCAA Basketball

After delivering an emphatic response to its first loss of the season, No. 7 Michigan will now try to build another long winning streak when it faces a streaking Purdue squad Friday in West Lafayette, Ind.

The Wolverines thrashed Maryland 87-63 in a game they never trailed on Tuesday. They started the season with 11 consecutive victories before falling at Minnesota, 75-57, on Saturday.

“Right now, it’s just about not getting complacent, which I felt like guys were on Saturday,” said Isaiah Livers, who scored a game-high 20 points against the Terrapins. “We were a little complacent and if we do that, we’re going to lose every night.”

Coach Juwan Howard was impressed by the way his team took control from the start. They grabbed a 17-3 lead in the first six minutes and led by double digits most of the way.

“Our guys understood this would be a big game, a big bounce-back game for us,” he said. “But we had to be ready to go from the time the ball was tipped.”

Livers and Mike Smith led a 3-point barrage as Michigan knocked down half of its 24 attempts from behind the arc.

“Guys were just locked in and focused,” Livers said. “We should play like that all the time, no matter what. But I think it was the carryover from that loss Saturday. This was a great chance to bounce back. The first four minutes was going to determine the game and I felt like we did a great job of jumping on them.”

Michigan (12-1, 7-1 Big Ten) showed its versatility, as its leading scorer and top post player, Hunter Dickinson (15.7 points per game), only took three shots and tallied three points.

“Sometimes you’ll see guys moping and upset about their stats,” Howard said. “Hunter is not a stat person. All he cares about is wins.”

Dickinson and the Wolverines’ other frontcourt players have a tough assignment Friday.

Purdue’s powerful big man, Trevion Williams, is averaging 15.4 points and 9.5 rebounds and has scored in double figures in 11 consecutive games. He has averaged 19.3 points during the Boilermakers’ current four-game winning streak.

Williams scored a team-best 16 points in a 67-65 victory over No. 15 Ohio State on Tuesday, but reserve freshman guard Jaden Ivey made the game-winning shot. He knocked down a 3-pointer with five seconds left and finished with a career-high 15 points.

An emotional Ivey, who is shooting just 21.2 percent from distance, felt a sense of redemption.

“I told myself, ‘Game over. I’m hitting this shot.’ I’ve been in a slump, I’ve been struggling mentally,” Ivey said. “I want to win so bad and just to see that shot go in, it just means everything.”

Purdue (11-5, 6-3) began its streak by rallying from 17 points down against Michigan State on Jan. 8. It trailed by 11 midway through the first half against the Buckeyes. During the past four games, the Boilermakers have outscored opponents by a combined 39 points in the second half.

Their defense held the Buckeyes to 37.7 percent shooting.

“Normally when somebody makes 14 threes, you’re going to lose the game, but they didn’t have very many twos,” coach Matt Painter said. “We didn’t really make any adjustments, we just tried to be there (defensively).”

–Field Level Media

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