2008-2009 Season

Game 29: Purdue at Michigan Post Game

Manny celebrates against Purdue

The message was clear: don’t write us off quite yet. Thursday night was a hell of a way to go out for CJ Lee, David Merritt, and Jevohn Shepherd. All three seniors got their chance to contribute in the game and their teammates helped them to a proper send off. This one was an offensive performance for the ages against one of the best defensive teams in the country.

Michigan caught fire in the second half en route to 50 points.  The shooting numbers were ridiculous: 81% from the field (17-21) and 62.5% from three point range (5-8) for an effective field goal percentage of 92.8%. Purdue allows an average eFG% of 42.5%, and they have allowed teams to shoot higher than 50% eFG% only four times this year. Michigan’s effective field goal percentage for the game was 71.7%. This was Michigan’s best mark of the season and it was the best shooting effort anyone had against the Boilers since before 2004.

Michigan kept Purdue in the game with their dreadful performance at the free throw line down the stretch. Michigan missed 10 free throws in the second half which is frustrating, especially for a team that has been solid at the stripe. Hopefully this was a one time thing and Michigan can put it behind them. Michigan missed 14 free throws in the game and finished 21 of 35 for the game. Probably the most remarkable stat is that Michigan missed 10 free throws and only 4 field goals in the second half.

Michigan did a solid job on the defensive end but it wasn’t spectacular. Robbie Hummel got a lot of open looks from long range and had 16 points in the first half but Michigan held him to 8 in the second. Michigan did a pretty good job mixing up the defenses; they went with some 1-3-1, 2-3, and man to man. This was enough to keep Purdue a little off balance but the offense clearly won Michigan the game.

Once this season is over there will be no denying that it has been a fun ride. Sure there have been plenty of ups and downs but what more can you expect the year after a 10-22 season? This team has responded with their backs to the wall several times, upset top 5 teams, and even played four overtime games to add to the drama.

Michigan sits at 8-8 in conference and it still looks like they need to find a way to win one more game in the regular season. The RPI made a nice jump to 46 and winning one more could push it close to the thirties range. I’ll work on a post tomorrow about what needs to happen for Michigan’s bubble chances.
Merritt and Beilein
Player Bullets:

  • DeShawn Sims: First the stat line: 34 minutes, 29 points on 13 of 16 (1-2 3pt) shooting, 5 rebounds,2 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal. I think it is safe to say that this was DeShawn’s best game in a Michigan uniform (the Duke game is very close). Peedi took it right at JaJuan Johnson and got him in foul trouble and besides that he just made everything.
  • Manny Harris: Clearly no lingering effects from the Iowa game: 35 minutes, 27 points on 8 of 15 shooting (3-5 3pt), 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 turnovers, and a steal. Manny did it all out there and he did it against one of the best defenders in the country. He took it to the hole, he dished the ball, and he even hit some ridiculous three pointers. I loved Manny’s attitude as well, he was vocal and keeping everyone in the game.
  • Stu Douglass: The unsung hero in this one: 31 minutes, 7 points on 2 of 4 (2-3 3pt) shooting, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Those are pretty good numbers for a freshman facing a tough defense like Purdue. Stu’s over the head backwards bounce pass was a thing of beauty and he got robbed on the Sports Center top 10. Not to mention that they put Kramer swatting Stu’s layup in there. Where is the love?
  • Zack Novak: 34 minutes, 4 points (1-4), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers. It seemed like Purdue wanted to take Zack out of the game and not give him any looks from deep, he didn’t force it and still made his typical hustle plays.
  • Kelvin Grady: 11 minutes, 3 points, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, and a steal. Kelvin got some playing time because of CJ’s foul trouble and he didn’t exactly dominate. Kelvin had one mind numbing turnover with about two minutes to go but he did a good job breaking the press. For what it’s worth I think it is fair to say that Kelvin didn’t really show anything that deserves massive amounts of playing time.
  • CJ Lee: The senior never really got it going on his night due to foul trouble. CJ only played 14 minutes but he did hit a three pointer. The free throws down the stretch (1-4) were enough to drive anyone (including CJ) crazy.
  • Dave Merritt: He’s not Darren Collison or Kalin Lucas but the kid just plays hard. You can’t say enough about him or CJ, they aren’t All Americans but it is their attitude that has made this season what it is — I have no doubt. They are captains in every sense of the word.
  • Jevohn Shepherd: Great to see Shep get a chance to shine on senior night and hit a three and get an assist. He’s been through a lot in his four years here but he stayed through it all and never seemed to pout.
  • Zack Gibson: Nothing to see here: Gibson only played six minutes and he didn’t look good when he was in the game.
  • Laval Lucas-Perry: I think the most frustrating thing for me with Laval right now is the defensive lapses. Laval had 3 fouls in 8 minutes. I do like that he has started to take it to the hole, he’s not much of a finisher in the lane but he can get to the stripe.
  • John Mahoney: Props for the technical, you have to go above and beyond to get a technical as an assistant coach.

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