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Michigan basketball shows fight, but not enough against Zach Edey, No. 3 Purdue

James Hawkins, The Detroit News on

Published in Basketball

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — When the Wolverines and Boilermakers squared off in late January, it was an absolute bloodbath.

The second encounter wasn’t another 32-point bludgeoning, but the matchup between teams at opposite ends of the Big Ten standings wasn’t pretty.

Poor defensive rebounding. Too many fouls with limited depth. No answer for Zach Edey. It all led to Michigan dropping its fifth straight in an 84-76 loss to No. 3 Purdue on Sunday at Crisler Center.

The Wolverines (8-20, 3-14 Big Ten), who have lost 15 of 17, joined an unwanted group and posted the third 20-loss season in program history. The only other times that occurred was in 2007-08 and 1959-60.

With three regular-season games left, the Wolverines are in danger of setting new marks of futility. They’re one conference loss away from tying the program record of 15 set in 1952-53 and two setbacks shy of tying the single-season record of 22 losses set 16 years ago.

Purdue (25-3, 14-3) played a part in that by sweeping the season series. The Boilermakers handed the Wolverines their most lopsided loss in 17 years in a 99-67 smashing at Mackey Arena. Edey didn’t pull any punches in the rematch that featured a strong Purdue contingent in the stands.

 

After falling behind by 11 at the break, the deficit grew to 14 points early in the second half and Michigan struggled to climb back into it. Each time the Wolverines cut it to single digits, the Boilermakers were there with a response, often coming by Edey.

When grad transfer forward Tray Jackson (10 points) hit a 3-pointer to make it an eight-point game, Edey answered with a three-point play. When senior forward Jace Howard hit a deep ball to cut it eight once again, Lance Jones followed a 3-pointer of his own.

When the Wolverines seemed to gain some momentum and pulled within seven on a fast-break layup by Howard, Edey stuffed it with back-to-back baskets at the rim to make it 68-57 with 10:18 remaining.

Things didn’t get much better for the Wolverines. Redshirt sophomore forward Will Tschetter (10 points) fouled out with 7:38 to go on a near steal. Sophomore center Tarris Reed Jr. joined him at the 3:31 mark chasing after a loose ball.

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