WEST LAFAYETTE, IND — WEST LAFAYETTE, IND. - Everyone in the building knew what the Purdue game meant to Michigan's Glenn Robinson III.
But in the clutch moment Wednesday, trailing by a point with 2.9 seconds left in overtime, he was the Wolverine farthest from the ball.
That was exactly what Michigan wanted, as Caris LeVert threw a cross-court rainbow, Robinson caught it, pounded one dribble, went to the basket and leaned in for the 77-76 overtime win over Purdue, stunning the 13,281 in Mackey Arena.
Well, most of those in the arena.
Sitting near the court, Robinson's father, Glenn (Big Dog) Robinson, who starred at the school and was just honored on this court last week, was beaming.
"My teammates know how much this game meant to me, especially with my dad playing here and me being from Indiana," said U-M's Robinson, who ended the game leading U-M with 17 points, 14 after halftime.
"It's good to be here and see him have a good game, especially against my school," the elder Robinson said.
Watching the play reminded him of himself, getting the ball down low and making an aggressive move to the hoop.
"It was almost a bad pass so he had to show his vertical and had to go up and get that ball," the elder Robinson said. "It was only 2.9 seconds so that was a great effort to keep that ball alive. He just made a good move and it was off of an instinct. It was a good shot and a shot that he can make."
It's a play the No. 16 Wolverines (20-7, 12-3 Big Ten) practice once every two weeks, coach John Beilein said, and one designed to seize of the sophomore star's talents.
As proud as the son was after the game, he emphasized the rest of the Wolverines made the final play possible.
"I thought we did a great job never giving up on this game," he said.
Because there were so many chances they could have, putting their sole Big Ten lead in jeopardy.
Like when they were down by 19 points more than 12 minutes into the game, with only three baskets in their first 17 attempts. When their late first-half implosion turned a potential seven-point deficit into 13 as Terone and Ronnie Johnson from Purdue (15-13, 5-10) tore them up. When their second-half rally wasn't finished as Nik Stauskas missed a bomb at the regulation buzzer. And in overtime, when Stauskas missed a pair of layups and, especially, when Purdue's Kendall Stephens had a chance to pad the one-point lead with 13 seconds left.
But Stephens missed the first free throw, U-M brought the ball up, called timeout and set up the game-winner.
The one shot had so many ripples, from winning the game, pushing U-M's first-place Big Ten lead to a full game over Michigan State and reinforcing the Wolverines' road success, now at 6-2, the program's best in conference play since 1992-93.
The Wolverines all contributed but with his second half surge and game-winner, it was Robinson's night.
"This game always means a lot to him," Beilein said. "It's got a lot of emotion in it, so it's great for Glenn as well."