MADISON — The No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers (24-5 overall, 15-4 Big Ten) hosted the No. 8 Purdue Boilermakers (24-6 overall, 13-6 Big Ten) on Tuesday night in only the fourth top-ten matchup ever played in Madison. With a win, the Badgers would clinch at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title after being picked to come in tenth in the conference during the preseason.
Purdue had the hot hand early, connecting on multiple three pointers to take an early lead. Matt Painter’s game plan was clearly to make someone other than Johnny Davis beat him, and to an extent, it worked. Davis and Brad Davison would combine for one made field goal in the first half, but it was Chucky Hepburn who stepped up and stole the show.
The freshman guard played outstanding basketball on both sides of the court, leading the Badgers with 11 first half points and a steal. Tyler Wahl added nine points and two steals of his own.
CHUCKY HEPBURN IS A MAN POSSESSED.— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) March 2, 2022
Throughout the half, Greg Gard got valuable minutes from Ben Carlson, Chris Vogt, Jahcobi Neath and Jordan Davis giving UW a 33-28 lead at the break.
Wisconsin extended their lead to as many as 11 in the second half before going ice cold with Chucky Hepburn on the bench due to foul trouble. The Badgers missed seven consecutive shots and over that span, Purdue went on a 14-2 run to take a one point lead.
As they’ve done all season in tight games, the Badgers responded due in large part to the play of Tyler Wahl. The junior finished with a team high 19 points.
With the game on the line, the Badgers and Boilermakers continued to trade baskets, keeping the game within one possession. Leading by one point, Johnny Davis attempted to draw contact on a deep two point jump shot, was unable to do so... BUT THE BANK WAS OPEN. Of course, Jaden Ivey came down the floor and tied the game with a three of his own.
Gard elected not to take a timeout, and like I said, THE BANK WAS OPEN. Chucky Hepburn got his moment. The freshman came down the court and banked in a game winning step-back three with 1.5 seconds remaining. CHILLS.
As called by @MattLepay & heard on the @varsity app: pic.twitter.com/WCl25Jt80z— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 2, 2022
The team picked to finish tenth in the Big Ten had captured a share of the regular season title. A win on Sunday, and the Badgers win it outright. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Notable stat lines:
- Johnny Davis —> 16 points (5-of-12 from the floor), eight rebounds, one assist
- Tyler Wahl —> 19 points (8-of-14 from the floor), two rebounds, two assists, five steals
- Chucky Hepburn —> 17 points (5-of-13 from the floor), two assists, one steal
- Jaden Ivey (Purdue) —> 22 points (8-of-15 from the floor), five assists, five rebounds
Up next: The Badgers host the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT to try and clinch an outright conference title. The game will be aired on Big Ten Network.