With the loss, the Badgers drop to 16-6 on the season and 8-3 in conference play, while Purdue takes over control as the top team in the Big Ten.
Offensively, Wisconsin shot just 42 percent from the field, but mainly struggled from three, hitting just 3/19 from deep in an ugly shooting day.
Defensively, the Badgers limited Purdue from beyond the arc and looked to minimize Zach Edey’s impact, but the big still ended with 18 points, while guards Braden Smith and Lance Jones had 19 and 20 points, respectively, in the win for the Boilermakers.
Here are three quick takeaways from the Badgers’ 75-69 loss to the Purdue Boilermakers.
With the way that Purdue defended Steven Crowl in the post, using Trey Kaufmann-Renn as the primary defender while Zach Edey looked to double, the Badgers were going to need to find different ways to score.
However, the Badgers could not hit a three either, which meant to me that this game was going to depend on A.J. Storr and how successful he could be while being aggressive.
Seeing high volume, Storr struggled on the day, shooting just 4/15 from the field, while missing all four of his threes. The Badgers guard seemed jumpshot-dominant at times on Sunday, taking lower-percentage shots, which led to him being benched on two different occasions in favor of Connor Essegian and John Blackwell.
One of the key moments came with 3:23 left in the game, as Storr subbed in and immediately attempted a stepback jumpshot off a drive, which resulted in him being subbed out in favor of Essegian after just 32 seconds on the court.
Storr should bounce back, but he was the key for the Badgers winning on Sunday and struggled to execute in the loss.
Defensively, Storr’s assignment, Lance Jones, had himself a day with a 20-point outing, hitting a number of tough shots both inside and outside.
The Badgers need to find a way to get Storr going early, as he does in certain games, while also utilizing his attacking skills more, given his profiency at the free-throw line.
That didn’t happen enough on Sunday and the guard struggled, especially in the second half when he shot just 1/8 from the field.
Battle between the bigs
The marquee matchup in Sunday’s game was the battle between centers Zach Edey and Steven Crowl, given how integral both players are to their respective offenses.
Through the first half, defense was the key in this battle, as Purdue effectively shut out Crowl, looking to double him with Zach Edey as the helper, which limited Wisconsin’s center to just two points and two total field goals in the first half.
As for Edey, the Badgers occasionally threw doubles at him, while making entry passes tough inside. As a result, Wisconsin forced three early turnovers and eight total combined from Edey and point guard Braden Smith.
Edey had just five points on 1/4 shooting in the first half, with the Badgers limiting him enough to stay in the game at halftime with a score of 34-32 in favor of Purdue.
In the second half, Crowl struggled with foul trouble, reaching his fourth with eight minutes left in the game, and Edey capitalized, ending the second half alone with 13 points on 6/9 shooting.
Additionally, Edey was able to get six offensive rebounds for Purdue, who scored a whopping 21 second-chance points on the day.
Ultimately, the Badgers remained in the game by limiting Edey early, but Purdue’s guards had a strong game, leading to a victory for the Boilermakers.
With Purdue looking to take away Steven Crowl’s post game, the emphasis fell on Tyler Wahl to create and facilitate on Sunday, and the Badgers forward answered the challenge.
Wahl finished the day with 20 points, a season-high, while shooting 10/16 on the day, primarily working the baseline to get his buckets.
It was an all-around game for Wahl, who reeled in seven rebounds and dished out five assists, while recording three steals and two blocks in the loss as well.
Wahl was able to effectively find his teammates on kick-outs and cuts to the basket, leading to a number of scores for the Badgers, who had to find different ways to score against Purdue’s defense.
Wahl was especially effective in the second half, scoring 12 of his 20 over the final 20 minutes of the game, while looking to attack Zach Edey in the paint on offense.
The Badgers fought through this game all the way down to the wire, and Wahl was the reason for that effort.