Manny Harris’ last trip to Mackey Arena was one to remember. He’d like this visit to be memorable for much different reasons.
The Big Ten’s leading scorer, sure to get a rude greeting from the Purdue crowd Saturday, looks to help Michigan hand the 13th-ranked Boilermakers consecutive home losses for the first time in nearly four years.
The Wolverines (10-8, 3-3), facing a ranked team for a third straight game, will be trying to win at Mackey Arena for the first time since Feb. 19, 2003.
In their last visit Jan. 31, Harris temporarily knocked out Purdue guard Chris Kramer with an elbow to the nose in the second half. Harris was ejected, and Kramer eventually returned to the game to help the Boilermakers win 67-49.
“We don’t retaliate, we just get ‘Ws’,” Kramer said after Purdue won its fifth straight at home over the Wolverines.
Harris, though, helped Michigan end a three-game losing streak in the series Feb. 26 as he scored 27 points in an 87-78 home win over then-No. 16 Purdue. The junior guard tops the Big Ten this season with 19.2 points per game.
However, Harris has averaged 12.3 on 35.3 percent shooting on the road in Big Ten play. Michigan is 1-4 in true road games overall.
Purdue (15-3, 3-3) is looking to avoid losing back-to-back home games for the first time since Feb. 18-March 1, 2006, having gone 55-6 in West Lafayette since that skid. The Boilermakers lost 70-66 to Ohio State at Mackey Arena on Jan. 12 as part of a three-game skid that followed their 14-0 start.
Looking to avoid its first four-game losing streak since 2006, Purdue won 84-78 at Illinois on Tuesday behind John Hart’s career-high 14-point effort off the bench. The sophomore guard, who had played 33 career minutes and scored eight points prior to that matchup, wasn’t listed in the official scorebook, earning the Boilermakers a technical foul in the first half.
“I thought John had an edge to him, just from not playing,” said Matt Painter, who is two wins shy of becoming the sixth Purdue coach with 100.
The Boilermakers face a significant test with the inside-outside combination of Harris and DeShawn Sims.
Harris’ 18 points helped Michigan upset then-No. 15 Connecticut on Sunday, but he had one of his worst games of the season Wednesday as he was held to 11 in a 54-48 loss at No. 18 Wisconsin.
“It’s deflating because we wanted to win that game,” Sims said. “And it’s deflating because we were really there.”
Sims had 23 points and was 9 of 14 from the field, but the rest of the Wolverines shot 8 for 33 (24.2 percent). The senior forward, who shot 13 of 16 and scored a career-high 29 points in the Feb. 26 win over Purdue, is averaging 20.3 points on 61.6 percent shooting in Big Ten play.
Michigan, though, is among the worst shooting teams in the conference, hitting 42.8 percent.
JaJuan Johnson or Robbie Hummel will likely be matched up with Sims. After scoring 18 total points during the Boilermakers’ skid, Johnson posted his fifth double-double Tuesday with 24 points and a season-high 12 rebounds.
Hummel, sixth in the Big Ten in scoring (16.3) and fifth in rebounding (7.0), is averaging 15.3 and 5.5 in four career games versus Michigan.
Boilermakers leading scorer E’Twaun Moore is eight points shy of moving past Frank Kendrick for 22nd in program history with 1,270.
Purdue is 80-61 all-time versus Michigan.