The Purdue Boilermakers defeated the Wisconsin Badgers 66-55 in the always loud and hostile Mackey Arena. The Badgers were ice cold from the field in the first half, and trailed 29-23 at the break. Wisconsin hit their first five shots to start the second half, narrowing the deficit to four points. Badger freshman D’Mitrik Trice then missed a wide open fast break layup, and Purdue answered with a three-pointer, sparking a 12-0 Boilermaker run. With the momentum and crowd on their side, Purdue finished strong, never looking back on their way to a dominating home win.
The Badgers were led by Ethan Happ with 17 points, five rebounds, four assists, and six steals, although he only shot 7-16 from the field. In fact, the entire Wisconsin team struggled from the field, shooting only 39% for the game. The Badgers also only connected on 2-14 from beyond the arc. In comparison, Purdue shot 52.2% from the field and hit 7-15 from three-point range. The loss drops Wisconsin to 13-3 and 2-1 in Big Ten play.
– Wisconsin still struggles to defend good post players. That was a huge problem against UNC, and it was definitely a cause for concern today. Isaac Haas was able to get fantastic position down low, and converted that into 13 points. Caleb Swanigan added 18 points on 7-10 shooting. It’s certainly not a lack of effort. Happ was flying around in the paint, and ended up with six steals. The problem is that Wisconsin just doesn’t have enough size this season.
-I’m not really concerned with this loss. Purdue shot the lights out and Wisconsin was ice cold. The atmosphere in Mackey Arena was also as intense as any the Badgers will face this season. Not many teams in the country could have beat Purdue on the road the way they shot today.
-Wisconsin had a couple plays today that may be seen on SportsCenter’s Not Top 10. With 19:30 left in the half, Vitto Brown took a dribble, then picked the ball up. He waited a few seconds, looked for someone to pass to, and then took another dribble. Yeah… I don’t think anything further needs to be said. Later in the game, Happ had a steal and threw an outlet to a wide open D’Mitrik Trice. With a chance to cut the deficit to just two points, he blew the layup, sparking a 12-0 Purdue run. Plays like that are how you lose tight road games.
-Despite the fact that he had a relatively poor shooting day, Happ played with a ton of grit. He played tenacious defense, logging six steals. Six steals is good for anyone, but for a 6-10 center, it is incredible.
-Wisconsin’s strength continues to be playing through their big men and letting them facilitate. Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ have to be the best duo of low post passers in the country.
-It is too bad Purdue and Wisconsin only play once this season. I think that this game would look much different in the Kohl Center. The Big Ten schedule makers need to figure something out to make it more fair in the future, because this gives Purdue a huge advantage in the Big Ten title race.