In desperate need of a win, the No. 25 Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball program (16-10 overall, 10-9 Big Ten) was back on the road for a Tuesday night showdown with No. 23 Purdue.
The Boilermakers (17-8 overall, 12-6 Big Ten) came into the game holding the fourth spot in the Big Ten standings (narrowly ahead of Ohio State due to a tie breaker), while the Badgers hoped to maintain the all important sixth spot in the standings that includes a bye game in the B1G Tournament.
At Mackey Arena, it was the Boilermakers who came out with a huge resume building win as the Badgers left losers of four of their last five games.
The #Badgers fall on the road against Purdue, 73-69.— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) March 3, 2021
Wisconsin had plenty of opportunities, but once again shot only 24% from three and were dominated in the paint by 7-foot-4 freshman Zach Edey.
Sticking with the same starting lineup — much to the chagrin of Drew — the Badgers were able to put together a strong start to take a 11-3 lead after four and a half minutes, thanks to three straight made baskets and some solid defense.
The Badgers would proceed to have a three minute scoring drought that allowed Purdue to close the gap to only five at the second media timeout, and proceeded to add another three minute scoring drought shortly thereafter until things were all knotted up at 15 with 7:48 left in the first half.
Over the course of the final minutes of the first half, Purdue would take a seven point lead with just over two minutes remaining, but the Badgers were able to close the gap behind some great shooting by Brad Davison and Nate Reuvers.
Big play by Aleem Ford to close the half. Purdue up 30-28.— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) March 3, 2021
Brad Davison 10 pts, 2 assists
Nate Reuvers 8 pts, 1 reb#Badgers shooting 42% from the floor and 33% from three.
Wisconsin was able to tie things up quickly coming out of the halftime intermission, but a strong and-one by Trevion Williams would give Purdue a 39-36 advantage at the first media timeout.
The Badgers would swing momentum in their favor to take a one-point lead with 11:25 remaining in the game as they got into the bonus early in the half and made their freebies. The Boilermakers were able to get into the bonus shortly following that moment in time,
The referees would continue to call a tight game, as neither team was able to do much offensively outside of the free throw line. Freshman center Zach Edey took it to the Badgers over the course of the next few minutes, dominating in the low post against both Reuvers and Potter.
Down the stretch Wisconsin relied on their three point shooting and were unable to convert on open looks, as Purdue was able to close the door on the Badgers for a four point win.
Notable stat lines:
- Brad Davison —> 15 points (4-of-12 from the floor), three rebounds, three assists
- D’Mitrik Trice —> 10 points (2-of-10 from the floor), three rebounds, four assists
- Zach Edey (Purdue) —> 21 points (8-of-11 from three), seven rebounds, one assist
- Jaden Ivey (Purdue) —> 18 points (4-of-9 from the floor), three rebounds, two assists
D'Mitrik Trice 19 straight points >>>>>> tonight— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) March 3, 2021
Three things that stood out:
No. 1: Paintball
Purdue absolutely killed the Badgers in the paint during the first half. The front court of the Boilermakers was really good around the rim and gobbled up rebounds at a much higher rate than Wisconsin. Purdue was plus six in the rebounding department with seven second chance points off of four offensive boards, and also outscored the Badgers 14 to six in the paint.
Leading scorer Trevion Williams got off to a slow start in the game due to some turnovers, but 7-foot-4 freshman Zach Edey made life tough for the Badgers with seven points, two rebounds, and a blocked shot on an efficient 3-of-4 shooting in the paint.
In the second half, Williams continued to struggle with foul trouble, but the freshman Edey continued to dominate inside. Wisconsin had no answer for the lanky big man who put together a career performance that included 21 points and seven rebounds in only 18 minutes of action. The freshman from IMG Academy didn’t do anything amazing, but he was able to get the ball deep in the paint and turn to the basket for easy score after easy score.
The Badgers did a pretty good job on the offensive glass in the second half led by Tyler Wahl’s six offensive boards, but Purdue finished the game with ten more boards and 16 points edge in the paint. When the game was on the line late, Williams had a monster offensive rebound that helped seal the deal for Purdue, as their front court was a huge reason for the final score.
The way this game is being called the #Badgers should be driving right at Edey the rest of the way. Need to find a way to get him off the court at this rate.— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) March 3, 2021
No. 2: Hot and cold
Wisconsin continued to have too many instances in which they faltered on offense Tuesday night. After a really strong start that gave the Badgers a 13-5 lead, consecutive scoring droughts of over three minutes hampered the teams ability to add to their lead and likewise allowed Purdue back into the game. The Boilermakers were not playing overly well in the first half, but rather the Badgers inefficiencies on offense allowed Purdue to make a run.
In the second half both teams went ice cold on offensive in the middle of the half, as Wisconsin and Purdue went over five minutes without making a field goal. The two squads had to resort to scoring from the free throw line for a large portion of the half before finding a rhythm in the final handful of minutes as they exchanged baskets at a fast rate.
Purdue would finish the game by making their last four shot attempts, and the Badgers would only make 3-of-17 from three point land in the second half. Wisconsin appears to be steadfast in dying by the three, and their 7-of-29 shooting performance was another glaring example of why they have been struggling the latter half of the season.
Ugh.— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) March 3, 2021
No. 3: Whistles
In a close game it was the referees who were one of the primary storylines. In the first half the two teams combined for 13 fouls and only 10 free throw attempts in what was a free flowing contest.
Boy did things change in the second half though.
In the second half there were 27 fouls called, and the game seemed to drag on in choppy fashion as players on both teams dealt with foul trouble.
In the end Purdue got to the line five more times and added four more points from the charity stripe, which ultimately was just another difference that affected the game.
While the referees were not one of the primary reasons that the Badgers lost, the unnecessary whistles in the final 20 minutes made for a really long game.
“Let’s go refs, baby. Love da refs!” - me, watching Big Ten basketball— Drew Hamm (@drewhamm5) March 3, 2021
Up next: The regular season finale for the Badgers will take place on Sunday, March 7 against No. 5 Iowa. The tough road tilt will tip-off at 11:30 a.m. CST on FOX.