On Sunday, the Wisconsin Badgers faced off against the Purdue Boilermakers in a classic Big Ten battle. Both teams entered the game ranked in the top 10 nationally, but only one left holding that same honor. Both teams played tough and brought their all, but Purdue was able to pull it out 75-69.
Let’s take a look at the players most deserving of recognition from this game.
Game Ball No. 1: Lance Jones
Jones has been a revelation for Purdue this season. Needing another perimeter player to come in and take some pressure off of Edey, Jones has been able to find a nice role that fits his skillset and open up their offense.
He led the team in scoring with 20 points, shooting 8/14 from the field and 3/7 from 3-point range. But, on top of being a go-to scorer in this game, he also contributed to strong ball movement, with 6 assists.
It felt like every time the ball touched his hands, someone was about to score.
Game Ball #2: Braden Smith
Much like Jones, Smith seemed to make something good happen every time he touched the ball. Pitching in 19 points and 3 assists, Smith was another big reason the team pulled this one out.
Unlike Jones, however, Smith did all of his work INSIDE the line. Smith consistently pulled up from midrange and knocked down fadeaways as the clock was running out.
Game Ball #3: Tyler Wahl
Now, I know what you’re gonna say: ‘But Robert, Tyler Wahl plays for Wisconsin and Wisconsin lost. Purdue won and Zach Edey was incredible.’ And you’d be right in saying all of those things.
But, as great as Edey was, Wisconsin still held him below his average in points scored. And while he definitely had some “WOW” plays, it felt like Wisconsin found a way to neutralize him on plays drawn up for him.
Meanwhile, Tyler Wahl had possibly the best game of any single player on the court. Tyler Wahl all but single-handedly kept the Badgers in this game with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. What a game. I mean, that’s a GREAT line.
And what makes it more impressive is that over and over again he went right at Edey, and found ways to win with superior footwork and patience. The Badgers may not have won, but Tyler Wahl absolutely won this Game Ball.
Up Next: Michigan