The battle was fought in the interior, but the game was won at the perimeter Sunday as host Purdue rode Caleb Swanigan and an effective inside-outside attack to beat the Badgers 66-55.
Widely billed as a matchup between two Big Ten Player of the Year candidates in Swanigan and Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ, the game saw both deliver. They combined for 35 points, 18 rebounds, and 6 assists. Purdue’s Isaac Haas (13 points) and Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes (10 points) each came in second in their team’s scoring, so the game’s top four scorers were all focused on the interior.
The difference was simply shooting. The Boilermakers made 52.2 percent of their shots (24 of 46), the Badgers hit just 39 percent of theirs (23 of 59). Wisconsin also didn’t make a 3-pointer until two minutes into the second half.
— CBS Sports CBB (@CBSSportsCBB) January 8, 2017
WHY PURDUE WON: Wisconsin did an admirable job of closing out 3-pointers, but that rarely mattered as Purdue showed why it leads the Big Ten 3-point field-goal percentage. The Boilermakers finished 7 of 15 from deep despite the pressure.
WHAT IT MEANS: The loss snaps Wisconsin’s nine-game winning streak and hands the Badgers their first loss in Big Ten play — coupled with Nebraska’s loss earlier Sunday, there are no teams left with a perfect record in Big Ten play. Since Purdue will not play Wisconsin again in the regular season, it also gives the Boilermakers the tiebreaker in the event of a tie atop the Big Ten standings.
WHO STARRED: Swanigan sure looked the part of a Big Ten Player of the Year front-runner. The sophomore forward recorded his eightth straight double-double to give him 14 in 17 games played — tops in the nation.
WHO STUMBLED: Vitto Brown did little to support Happ and Hayes, finishing with 4 fouls, 2 turnovers, 1 rebound, and zero points.
PPP: Purdue 0.94, #Badgers 0.72. Second-worst half of the season for UW (0.59 in first half vs. North Carolina).
— Jim Polzin (@JimPolzinWSJ) January 8, 2017
WHO WAS THERE: It was a sold-out game at Mackey Arena, with 14,804 fans in attendance.
WHO IS NEXT: Wisconsin returns to Madison for back-to-back contests: Ohio State on Thursday, then Michigan on Jan. 17. Purdue will head west Thursday to play Iowa, a team the Boilermakers crushed 89-67 to open Big Ten play on Dec. 28.
Purdue. Wow! A very balanced team. Size, shooting, solid guards. And, Caleb Swanigan. Damn.
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) January 8, 2017