Undeterred, Hughes offers a promise after missing game-winner
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Sometimes the shots just don't fall.
For Wisconsin's guards, that old adage was true on a number of shots they usually hit, including Trevon Hughes' missed floater in the final seconds that gave Purdue a 60-57 win Thursday night at Mackey Arena.
Hughes missed all five threes he took in the game and more importantly, he missed five free throws. Bohannon only hit one shot all night and never got to the free throw line. Jordan Taylor only hit 4-of-12 shots and missed a few runners in the lane that he usually hits all the time. After combining for 57 points in the first meeting between these two teams, UW's three starting guards totaled 25 points Thursday night and shot a combined 8-for-28 from the field.
"Few forced shots, but not many," head coach Bo Ryan said. "Trevon has obviously shot it better, but there was still a way to get it done."
There was a way to get it done, thanks to a game-high 25 points from Keaton Nankivil who hit 7-of-8 threes. That one might need to be repeated. Nankivil hit 7-of-8 threes.
The junior forward's first half shooting kept Wisconsin in the game. As Hughes, Taylor, Bohannon and Jarmusz started a combined 0-for-6 from behind the arc, Nankivil led all scorers with 11 first half points and hit three of his first four 3-point attempts.
And when Purdue rallied from a 38-31 deficit to take a 48-40 lead with 7:16 to go, it was Nankivil who scored 11 points and hit three 3-pointers to rally the Badgers. His last three capped a 9-0 run and gave Wisconsin an improbable 57-56 lead with 41 seconds left in the game.
"Up to this point I haven't really proven myself to be able to shoot so they're plan was to let a center shoot," Nankivil said after the game. "Today just happened to be a good day, I guess."
But it didn't end up to be a good day for the team after E'Twaun Moore came back with a relatively easy runner in the lane with 24 seconds left that gave Purdue a 58-57 lead. Moore finished with a team-high 20 points for the Boilermakers.
Wisconsin had two chances to take back the lead, however. The first came on a three pointer by Hughes with six seconds left that fell way short after Robbie Hummel appeared to make contact with Hughes' arm. The ball went out of bounds off a Boilermaker.
After Ryan called his last timeout, Hughes had another chance but his runner was too strong and fell off the rim after hitting the backboard. JaJuan Johnson grabbed the rebound and hit two free throws to seal the win for Purdue.
"He hit me on my elbow so I couldn't follow through," Hughes said about Hummel on the three-pointer he missed. "That's why the ball went the way it did."
Hummel might have gotten away with a foul, but his overall play was the difference in the game. The junior scored 12 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, dished out five assists and committed only one turnover.
"There's a difference when you got a Robbie Hummel who hunts the ball the way he does, screens, [and plays]defense," said Ryan, who coached Hummel on the USA junior team over the summer. "Yeah, he's a complete player. If he's up for a trade, let me know."
But despite a great stat line for Hummel, the most important stat line for Purdue could be found on Wisconsin's half of the box score. Take this one in: Jason Bohannon was 1-for-5 from the field, including 1-of-4 from three with zero free throw attempts in 37 minutes.
Purdue made a big effort to limit the play of Wisconsin's guards. The Boilermakers doubled on Hughes and Taylor and never switched off of Bohannon. Sure, that left Nankivil wide open a lot and almost cost Purdue the game, but in the end, it was one of the guards that missed the game-winner.
But don't think Hughes will be deterred from taking another game-winning shot in the future. After the game he offered this bold promise:
"They have faith to put the ball in my hands, and I didnt come out with it," he said. "But I promise the next time I am in that predicament, I will."