Harris, Fellow Seniors Guide Wolverines Past Purdue

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team gained an ounce of revenge with a 71-55 victory over the Purdue Boilermakers Saturday afternoon (Jan. 20). The win comes just seven days ago after a Michigan loss at Purdue. A back-and-forth first half that featured a U-M lead as big as nine points and a deficit as large as five gave way to the second half that saw the Wolverines (16-4, 4-1 Big Ten) hold the Boilermakers (13-7, 2-4 Big Ten) to 11-for-34 shooting from the field, sealing the lowest point total of the season for Purdue.

Senior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS) led a wave of scoring for the Maize and Blue as eight Wolverines dented the scoring column. Harris finished 21 points on 6-for-10 shooting, including 5-for-7 from beyond the arc. He also tallied five assists and a steal.

Fifth-year senior Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) came away with 12 points on 3-for-7 shooting, including 2-for-3 from three-point land. Abram also shot 4-for-4 from the charity stripe and recorded six rebounds.

Senior Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) provided offensive energy throughout the game, recording 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting, including four electrifying dunks. In 24 minutes of action, Petway recorded five boards, four blocks and a steal.

Sophomore Jerret Smith (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) rounded out the offensive leaders with a career-high 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting while dishing out a season-high seven assists and adding six rebounds and a steal.

The first five minutes of the contest proved to be critical to the Wolverines' hot start as the jumped out to an early 10-2 advantage. Michigan began the game down low with a pair of Petway buckets, including a rim-rattling alley-oop from Harris that whipped the Maized-Out Crisler Arena crowd into a frenzy.

The Michigan defense fed off the energy of the crowd and accounted for six boards and two blocks while forcing a pair of Purdue turnovers in the game's early stages. The Boilermakers were held to just two field goals in the game's first six minutes.

Petway's low-post game eventually gave way to four three-pointers, extending the U-M lead to 16-8 at 11:35 in the first half. Harris knocked down a pair of three-point bombs, complementing long-range hookups from Abram and junior Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS). Four of Michigan's first six field goals came from downtown.

Feeling the pressure, Purdue responded with a 13-0 run to take a commanding 21-16 lead at 6:21. Holding the Wolverines scoreless for almost six minutes, the Boilermakers spread the ball offensively as guards David Teague and Chris Kramer and forward Chris Landry recorded baskets. The trio accounted for all of Purdue's first-half points.

With the Wolverines on the ropes, Smith led U-M back, dishing out three assists to regain a 25-23 lead going into halftime. With the poise of a veteran, Smith found cracks in the Purdue defense and pushed the ball down low for buckets by Coleman, senior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) and freshman Ekpe Udoh (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe HS). The dunk by Coleman ended the Michigan scoring drought, while the Udoh hoop regained the lead with 37 seconds remaining before the break.

Out of the halftime locker room, the Maize and Blue built a 40-30 lead at 14:58 behind three consecutive treys -- two by Harris and one by Abram. Another Harris three-pointer, his fifth of the afternoon, mixed with eight points by Smith, ballooned the U-M lead to 53-35 with just under 10 minutes left in the contest.

The 18-point Michigan advantage proved too much for the Boilermakers to overcome, as they could only trim the lead to 11 points, 58-47. Down the stretch, the Wolverines leaned on free throw shooting to cap the 71-55 victory. Michigan connected on 12 of 15 from the charity stripe in the second stanza, with seven made free throws coming in the game's final four and a half minutes.

The Wolverines will hit the road for a two-game stretch in Big Ten play. First up, the Maize and Blue will head to Madison, Wis., Wednesday (Jan. 24) for its only regular-season meeting with the Wisconsin Badgers. The 8 p.m. CST game at the Kohl Center will be broadcast as part of the ESPN-Plus package.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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