There really is just something special about this Frank Kaminsky guy.
On the night the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team honored Kaminsky by raising his iconic No. 44 jersey up into the rafters, the Badgers managed to produce an even better tribute to Frank The Tank: Upsetting No. 6 Purdue University.
From the onset of the first half, things looked completely different than has been the norm during this downtrodden 2017-18 Badger campaign.
Half way through the first half, Brevin Pritzl launched a three-pointer from Waukesha that tied the game at 12. Riding the wave of momentum, Pritzl notched a steal on the next play and scored a transition layup to take the lead from the Boilermakers.
The first half ended with the score all knotted up, 21 a piece.
A half time speech from Frank Kaminsky got the crowd going, and the energy wouldn’t leave the building until the last fan left the arena.
The second half started off with a huge block by Khalil Iverson, to the delight of the Kohl Center crowd in Madison. With 13:03 remaining in the game, Brad Davison drew a key charge. This signaled much of what was to come as Davison would play a significant role in the underdog victory.
Aaron Moesch came up clutch a few minutes later with a hard fought offensive board, which he served up to Davison for an outside shot that set the score at 32-29, Badgers ahead.
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Carsen Edwards responded with a three-pointer on Purdue’s next trip down the court to tie the game back up. It seemed like Edwards, who ended the game with 22 points, was able to return fire with the Badgers all night.
With 4:58 left, Davison made the play of the night, and one of the smartest plays in NCAA basketball this season. Davison rose up and brought the ball to his shot-pocket, lining up for a three-pointer – then fooled everyone in the building with a brilliant half-pass-half-shot down low to Iverson who flushed it home. This tied the ball game at 43.
A travel by Purdue’s big man Isaac Haas led to a smooth Ethan Happ layup, which was followed by a Davison step-back shot that gave Wisconsin a three point lead.
With two minutes left, it became clear the Badgers were not losing this game.
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Happ called for the ball in the post, and worked the Purdue interior defense down low before laying in a massive layup. Iverson then blocked a Carson Edwards three-point attempt and the game was all but over.
Shaky free throws from Happ made things interesting, but after a missed Purdue three with 12 seconds over the game was clinched.
Happ led the way for the Badgers with another double double, he would finish the game with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
While tournament hopes are still mostly dashed at this point in the season, excitable Badger fans may start to look at Thursday’s effort and wonder if the Cardinal and White can’t bottle this performance and save it for the Big Ten tournament.
The University of Minnesota will head to the Kohl Center for the Badger’s next game on Monday.