Boilermakers top Michigan, 67-58

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A decision by Michigan coach Steve Fisher backfired Sunday with a 67-58 loss to Purdue.
Fisher decided to change his starting unit in an effort to halt the slump of his 18th-ranked Wolverines, opening with forward Jerod Ward on the bench for the first time this season and replacing him with Brandun Hughes in a three-guard setup.
Ward, who scored a career-high 19 points as Michigan defeated Purdue 67-52 last month, was ineffective in a reserve role as he quickly got into foul trouble and was limited to just three points in seven minutes.
“I felt like we needed to do something. No disrespect to Jerod,” Fisher said. “I was not trying to single him out. But, I wanted to get a little different feel out there. … It (the three guards) wasn’t anything unusual, it was just unusual at the opening tip.”
The Boilermakers outscored Michigan 23-7 from the free throw line, overcoming a 40 percent shooting performance from the field. Chad Austin led the way with 25, becoming the 34th player in Purdue history to score 1,000 points in his career.
Center Brad Miller scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half, including a three-point play that put Purdue ahead to stay 56-53 with 1:52 to go.
“The first half, our guards played well and the big guys didn’t get a lot done,” Purdue coach Gene Keady said. “The second half, the big guys came out and really helped us and turned the game around.”
Robert Traylor topped Michigan with 18 points, including four dunks in an 8-4 run that gave the Wolverines their only lead of the second half at 50-49 with 4:34 to play.
Purdue (15-10, 10-5 Big Ten) kept its NCAA hopes alive with the victory, which Michigan (17-9, 7-7) saw its chances slide as it dropped its fourth game in five starts.
Purdue was unable to get the ball inside to the 6-foot-11 Miller for most of the game. With Traylor in foul trouble, they became more successful and he scored 10 of Purdue’s final 20 points.
Jaraan Cornell, who scored 17 points, gave the Boilermakers a 58-53 advantage by making two free throws with 1:32 left. In the last minute, Purdue made seven of eight free throws to clinch the game.
There were seven lead changes and two ties in the first half, which ended with Purdue holding a 33-31 lead.
Purdue won despite a 32 percent (8 of 25) shooting effort in the second half. Michigan wasn’t much better as it shot 37.5 for the half and 37.7 for the game.