Ann Arbor, MI– After three wins last week over top ten ranked teams it would of been easy for Michigan (16-4, 8-0) to look past Purdue (13-8, 3-5) but sophomore shooting guard Nik Stauskas would have none of that. Stauskas scored 11 of his 16 points in the first half as the Wolverines defeated the Boilermakers 75-66.
Michigan quickly jumped to a 16-6 lead in part due to the three point shooting of Stauskus and sophomore guard Caris LeVert. Purdue responded with a 9-0 run of their own to take their only lead of the game 22-21. Michigan then switched to a 2-3 zone which limited Purdue’s dribble penetration and when freshmen guard Derrick Walton laid the ball in at the halftime buzzer it gave Michigan a 37-29 lead.
A 13-4 burst early in the second half built the Michigan advantage to 56-41, after that Purdue couldn’t close the gap to fewer than eight. Sophomore Stauskas continued to show why many NBA scouts have him moving up in the first round of the draft and maybe even to a lottery pick. His ball-handling has improved dramatically but his stock is rising because of his shooting ability. NBA three point shooting is at a premium and Stauskus definitely has NBA three point range and at 6’6 can get his shot off over smaller guards as well. Some draft experts can also see Stauskas eventually playing some point guard in the NBA. Coming into the Purdue game he led the Big Ten in assist/turnover ratio with a 3.3 to 1.
Stauskas had plenty help against the Boilermakers, LeVert notched his first double-double of his career with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Walton pitched in with 14 points. Purdue was lead by sophomore center A.J. Hammons who poured in 16 points to go along with his 8 rebounds.
Michigan and Purdue both will play their next game on Sunday February 2nd. Michigan will travel to Indiana while Purdue will visit Penn State.
Derek LeFevre is a Correspondent and Scout for NetScouts Basketball.