ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Derrick Walton was 0 for 9 from the field when he drove to the basket, was knocked off balance and still managed to flip the ball off the glass and in.
“Honestly, I didn’t see it (go in) - I kind of got, like, clobbered,” Walton said. “I just kind of reacted once the crowd reacted.”
Walton and Zak Irvin scored the game’s final 11 points, and Michigan overcame an awful stretch of shooting in the second half to beat No. 18 Purdue 61-56 on Saturday. Walton’s layup was part of that late rally, and Irvin’s jumper from around the free throw line with 1:09 remaining gave the Wolverines the lead.
The Wolverines (19-7, 9-4 Big Ten) trailed by six points late in the second half after a stretch of 2-for-20 shooting. A funk like that is usually enough to sink Michigan against good opponents, but on this day it was Purdue (20-6, 8-5) that couldn’t score down the stretch.
“I think we grew up a lot today as a team,” Wolverines coach John Beilein said.
Michigan had missed 18 of its previous 20 shots from the field and trailed 56-50 when Irvin connected from 3-point range with 2:43 remaining. Then Walton made his layup while being fouled. He missed the free throw, but Irvin put the Wolverines up 57-56 with just over a minute remaining.
Caleb Swanigan missed from inside for the Boilermakers. Michigan’s Mark Donnal missed a 3-point attempt, and then Purdue’s Ryan Cline missed a 3 of his own.
Walton’s two free throws with 15.8 seconds remaining made it 59-56, and with the Boilermakers trying for a quick two points, Vince Edwards missed. Walton added two more free throws to put the game away.
Irvin finished with 22 points.
Caris LeVert returned for Michigan after missing 11 games with a lower left leg injury. He went scoreless in 11 minutes.
Michigan shot 25 percent from 3-point range and 36 percent overall. The last time the Wolverines won a game while shooting that poorly on both counts was Jan. 11, 2012, when they shot 23 percent from long distance and 33 percent from the field in a victory over Northwestern.
“They didn’t shoot well,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “That’s their deal. They shoot a lot of 3s, they’re a perimeter-oriented team, so when they’re not shooting it well, they’ve got to get it from some other avenue, and tonight their hustle really paid off.”
Swanigan led Purdue with 14 points, and Isaac Haas added 11.
ON THE BOARDS
Michigan outrebounded Purdue 39-35, becoming the first team all season to outrebound the Boilermakers. Purdue was the only team in the country that hadn’t been outrebounded yet.
Beilein, his staff and the Michigan players wore special T-shirts on the sideline to help raise awareness for the Chad Tough Foundation. Chad Carr, the grandson of former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr, died from brain cancer in November.
On a day when the Wolverines chased down several crucial rebounds, Beilein kept Carr in his thoughts postgame.
“We outrebounded Purdue - look at that. That may be the only time you’ll ever see that stat,” Beilein said. “We got it done somehow. Chad Carr, I think, was batting the ball around to us as a little angel somewhere.”
Purdue: A.J. Hammons scored 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
Michigan: The Wolverines improved to 2-6 on the season against ranked teams. … Irvin shot 8 for 19 and was the only Michigan player to score in double figures.
Purdue: Hosts Northwestern on Tuesday night.
Michigan: At Ohio State on Tuesday night.
Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister
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