Sims Putback Lifts Wolverines to Victory Against Purdue

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team escaped a sold-out Crisler Arena with a 64-63 win over Purdue Saturday afternoon (Feb. 7). The Wolverines (13-6, 4-4 Big Ten), who led by as many as 16 points in the second half, were held without a field goal for almost 11 minutes, as the Boilermakers (15-7, 5-4 Big Ten) went on a 19-3 run and eventually took a one-point lead in the final 10 seconds. Freshman Courtney Sims (Roslindale, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) proved to be the hero for Michigan, collecting an offensive board on a Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) miss before a putback hoop with 1.4 seconds left to lift the Maize and Blue to victory.


With 15 rebounds against Purdue, Sims blew away his previous career high of six.

Horton, who scored five of Michigan's final seven points, led all scorers with 19 points and five assists. Sims had an outstanding all-around game for the Wolverines, finishing with 11 points and game-highs of 15 rebounds and five blocks. Senior Bernard Robinson Jr. (Washington, D.C./New Hampton Prep [N.H.]) also posted a double-double for U-M, scoring 11 points and pulling down 10 boards. David Teague paced the Boilermakers with 14 points and seven rebounds.

The Wolverine defense set the tone early on, holding Purdue to just one field goal in the first seven minutes of the game. The Boilermakers' offensive struggles allowed Michigan to build a quick seven-point advantage during the stretch. Sims started things off with two points on a goaltending call down low, and a U-M steal on the other end resulted in a triple from Horton. Following a pair of free throws from Purdue's Austin Parkinson, Robinson came down and buried a short jumper to put the Wolverines back up by five points, 7-2, with 17:49 left in the half.

Purdue received its first field goal from Brett Buscher at 16:04 to cut the lead to three points. Michigan answered with two free throws from Horton and a jumper from senior/junior J.C. Mathis (Brooklyn, N.Y./John F. Kennedy HS) to push the lead to 11-4 with 13:13 remaining in the first half. Melvin Buckley ignited the Boilermaker offense with eight straight points during a 12-4 run, as Purdue took its first lead of the game, 16-15, with 10:18 left until the break. Five more unanswered points from the Boilermakers pushed the lead to 19-15.

Freshman Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) broke a three-minute U-M scoring drought with a triple, and Robinson followed with another jumper to give the lead back to the Wolverines, 21-19. After a defensive stop, sophomore Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) kept things going with his first triple to increase the lead to 24:19 with just under six minutes left in the half.

Both teams exchanged points over the next few minutes, as Michigan held on to a 27-24 advantage. The Wolverines turned up the offensive intensity in the closing minutes of the half, with freshman Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) coming off of the bench to score four points from the line, and Sims converting on a nice little turnaround hook inside. Horton finished the first-half scoring for U-M, putting home a tough jumper from the wing to give the Wolverines a 35-30 lead after the first 20 minutes.

Robinson, Sims and Horton each netted seven points to lead Michigan in the first frame. Buckley led the Boilermakers with 10 first-half points.

Purdue opened the second half with two straight buckets to cut the lead to 35-34, but the Boilermakers would only score one more field goal over the next six minutes. Michigan took advantage by going on a 15-2 run during the span, including five points from Horton. Harris was the main catalyst during the spurt, scoring four straight points inside before making a nice dish to Robinson for a layup on the break. After Brandon McKnight gave Purdue its first bucket in nearly five minutes, Robinson hit another tough jumper and Horton knocked down two more from the line to put U-M ahead by a game-high 16 points, 54-38, with 11:57 left in the game.

The Boilermakers stormed back into contention with a 13-1 scoring run of their own over the next several minutes. Teague scored five of Purdue's points during the run, while U-M was only able to manage one free throw from Mathis in seven minutes. With Michigan holding on to a 55-51 lead, Abram drew a foul and put home two from the line to push the lead to six points. Purdue continued to take advantage of Michigan's offensive woes, scoring six more unanswered points to tie the game at 57-57 with 2:02 remaining.

Horton connected on his third triple of the game for Michigan's first field goal in nearly 11 minutes, providing the Wolverines with a 60-57 lead. Following a pair of free throws from Buscher, Horton scored another hoop inside to put U-M back up by three points with under a minute to play. Sims had an opportunity of increase the lead, but his first attempt on a one-and-one fell shy, and McKnight came down and hit a tough running layup off the glass to bring the Boilermakers within one point, 62-61, with 28 seconds left.

Michigan was unable to convert from the line once again, as Horton also missed the front end of a one-and-one, allowing Purdue a chance to take the lead. McKnight came up big again, nailing a short jumper with seven second left to give the Boilermakers a 63-62 lead and setting the stage for Sims' game-winning basket in the final second.

The Wolverines will hit the road for a pair of conference games next week. The Maize and Blue will head to Minneapolis, Minn., Wednesday (Feb. 11) to take on Minnesota at Williams Arena. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. CST and will be taped delayed on UPN-50 (Detroit) starting at 10 p.m. EST.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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