Michigan entered its game against Purdue on Thursday night having won 10 of 11, including six straight.
It didn’t matter.
The Boilermakers had their way with the Wolverines from start to finish, beating Michigan 87-70 to improve to 14-2 on the season.
“Michigan is a really good team, so we knew they were going to come in and give us their best shot,” Purdue guard Rapheal Davis said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. They (were) undefeated in the Big Ten, so it’s one of those things. We just wanted to come out, play hard and get a win, get a bounce-back win from the other day and it worked out for us.”
No. 20 Purdue started the season 11-0 but two of its next four games, including a 70-63 home loss to Iowa on Jan. 2. The Boilermakers led 37-20 at halftime but were outscored 50-26 in the second half.
“(That loss) woke us up,” Davis said. “We can’t have a team come into our arena and have fans leave with the impression that they played harder than us – and in the second half, they played harder than us. We can’t allow Purdue to beat Purdue. We also just got to focus in and lock in, but this was a good bounce-back win for us. We were able to play hard and make shots.”
Indeed, Purdue shot 55.6 percent from the floor, including 50 percent from three-point range. Six different Boilermakers connected from distance, including Davis, P.J. Thompson and Dakota Mathias, who hit two apiece.
“We put a lot of shots up this week,” Davis said. “We had a few days in between games, so it was one of those things where we don’t have class. We don’t have anything to do really except get into the gym – and that’s what we did.”
A.J. Hammons, meanwhile, was a beast down low. He shot 7-of-10 from the floor and finished with 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and four blocks.
“(Having) A.J. back there, (it’s) a big relief to be a guard and be out their pressuring the ball,” Davis said. “When you got a big man that can block shots, it really allows you to get into the guys that you guard on the perimeter. He had a really good game for us tonight and hopefully he can carry it on to Sunday at Illinois.”
Purdue plays Illinois (8-8) in Champagne on Jan. 10 at 6 p.m. ET.
The Boilermakers hope to take their unselfish play on the road. They tallied 26 assists on 30 field goals against Michigan.
“We got trust in our team,” Davis said. “When you know your teammate’s open, you got to get it to him as fast as you can because you know he’ll make that shot. Our team gets in the gym. Our team works. When you work on your game, your teammates trust you – and that’s what happened tonight.”