At times in the second half it seemed like Wisconsin was throwing everything it could at No. 12 Purdue.
And at night’s end it was just enough to fall short.
As senior point guard Trevon Hughes’ final runner bounced off the rim, No. 16 Wisconsin (6-3 Big Ten, 16-5 overall) lost the chance to earn a rare win over Purdue (5-3, 17-3) in Mackey Arena. The final score was 60-57, but that does not tell the story of a second half that featured several big momentum swings and a slew of important shots in the game’s final minute.
“It was especially frustrating tonight because I felt like a couple times we had [them in] a position where we kind of wanted them,” junior forward Keaton Nankivil said. “In both cases I thought we had some good stuff going, but I guess they made plays down the stretch and we struggled a couple times.”
The Badgers were up 38-31 early in the second half, but Purdue refused to let them pull away, going on a 9-0 spurt. Sophomore guard Jordan Taylor stemmed the run for a moment with a pair of free throws, but Purdue then dropped eight more on the Badgers.This time it was Wisconsin that did not fold.
“We were, maybe to some people, buried a little bit,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. “When it’s 48-40 and playing as hardnosed as both our teams are, that’s a deep deficit to come back from, and we did. So I like that part, and just possession for possession, at the end they got a little more than us.”
The Badgers rallied behind Nankivil’s shooting, and his 3-pointer from the top of the key with 43 seconds left gave them a 57-56 edge. On the other end, junior guard E’Twaun Moore responded, working off a screen from junior teammate JaJuan Johnson and dropping a floater in the lane to retake the advantage for good.
Ryan put the ball in Hughes’ hands, but the only shot he could get was a pressured 3-pointer from the corner that did not draw iron but bounced out of bounds off a Purdue player. Hughes got another chance with six seconds left, but his driving bank shot over a crowd of defenders went a bit too hard off the glass.
Let's hope the Badgers can rebound and return to their winning ways. GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!