By Chris Emma-
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (CBS) — Basketball brought a bit of poetic justice at Mackey Arena on Wednesday night.
There was Glenn Robinson III racing off the court with his hands held high, and his father waiting for him with a big smile. Glenn Robinson, one of Purdue’s all-time greats, was thrilled for his son’s heroic buzzer-beater to sink his alma mater in a 77-76 overtime win for Michigan.
For the younger Robinson, who has struggled throughout much of his sophomore season, this was a moment he’ll cherish. Mackey Arena is a special place for his family, but this was different.
“My teammates knew how much this game meant for me,” Robinson said.
It was the Indiana kid who spurned his parents’ school who brought a special victory for his Wolverines, just another mark for Michigan’s exceptional season.
This was a game Michigan needed to have in its quest for the Big Ten’s regular-season title. Down by 19 points in the first half, the Wolverines’ hopes appeared bleak, but they were ready to rally back.
A Michigan team that played in the 2013 championship game showed its poise and experience, battling from behind and earning an important win.
“Our kids just were resilient,” Michigan coach John Beilein said.
It couldn’t have come as a surprise for Beilein. The Wolverines have been tested all year long, from regrouping without an elite player like Trey Burke, the season-ending injury to star center Mitch McGary and the wins over rivals like Ohio State and Michigan State.
Many teams could’ve folded in a game like this. Michigan had every reason to falter — a hangover from the win over Michigan State, a huge hole to climb out of and a hostile road environment. But it never quit in the comeback.
Slowly but surely, the Wolverines marched back. There was no improbable run or lucky breaks, just a poised, steady climb that lifted Michigan to a 12-3 mark in the Big Ten, a game ahead of Michigan State. That’s the mark of a championship team.
“I thought they did a great job of never giving up on this game,” Robinson said. “We competed hard and came out with the victory.”
Resilient is the right word to describe John Beilein’s team. The coach even admitted the fortuitous breaks and bounces weren’t an indicator that it was Michigan’s night.
“It was their night most of the night,” he said. “But we just had the breaks down the stretch that we needed to have.”
Beilein has seen a lot in his successful coaching career, one that started at Newfane High School in upstate New York. He has another Michigan team ready for a run to the Big Ten championship — and perhaps great accomplishments.
But for a struggling sophomore like Robinson, who delivered a memorable moment at the house his father made so special, it’s a win he won’t soon forget.
It’s just another chapter in Michigan’s march toward a promising postseason.
Chris Emma covers the college sports scene for CBS Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @CEmmaScout.