ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Purdue probably needed a signature victory to cement its place in the NCAA tournament.
The Boilermakers got one Saturday thanks to Terone Johnson.The sophomore scored a career-high 22 points and Robbie Hummel added 17 as Purdue beat Michigan 75-61, handing the Wolverines (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) their first home loss of the season.
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"If you are going to beat a team like Michigan on the road, you need someone to have a career night," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "That's what Terone did for us. He was fantastic."The Boilermakers (19-10, 9-7 Big Ten) won for the fourth time in five games, improving their postseason resume."We can't start thinking about the tournament yet," Painter said. "Our next game is against a team (Penn State) that beat us by 20 this year, so we need to focus strictly on that."Johnson hadn't scored more than 16 points in a game and was averaging 7.6. But he took over against the Wolverines in what he called the best game of his career."I think it must be," he said. "I had a career high, but not only that, I thought I played pretty good on the defensive end. That was the important part -- keeping Tim Hardaway and Trey Burke out of the lane."
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Michigan (21-8, 11-5) entered 15-0 at the Crisler Center but couldn't finish off the third unbeaten home season in school history."I just want to say that 15-1 is a pretty good season at home," coach John Beilein said. "We wanted the undefeated record, but we'll try for that again next year."It was the details that bothered Beilein."Purdue's defense has always been very good," he said. "The problem was with the way we defended them. We had too many breakdowns early and again late."Burke and Zack Novak led Michigan with 12 points each, while Hardaway Jr. added 10. Novak was playing his final home game, but said that didn't change his feelings."Our goals for this season didn't include winning on Senior Night, and going undefeated wasn't that high on the list, either," he said. "That was a team that needed a win, and they came in and got one from us. We didn't make shots and they made everything."Burke's two free throws tied the game at 40 with 13:02 to play, and the Boilermakers immediately turned the ball over. Jordan Morgan's basket gave Michigan its first lead, but Purdue answered with a 12-3 run to go up 52-45 with 6:30 left.Michigan rallied, but Johnson answered with a three-point play. Hummel then hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and the Boilermakers led 61-51 with 3:31 left.Both coaches thought those 3-pointers changed the game."They were key," Painter said. "He'd be a little off all night, but he knocked down those two just as we needed them."Beilein said both shots came after defensive breakdowns."We made two big mistakes, and Hummel made us pay for them," he said. "That was the point where they got separation from us. Ten points there is a lot bigger than four points."Another three-point play from Johnson ended Michigan's dream of a 16-0 home record and perhaps a top-10 ranking going into the Big Ten tournament."He was huge," Hummel said. "We've seen this before, but he's never put it all together in a game like this. He got to the basket at will, and he made plays."Purdue got off to a quick start and led by 11 midway through the first half. Burke finally got involved at that point, and his seven points helped Michigan pull within 32-28 at halftime.