The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (16-10, 9-6 Big Ten) extended their win streak to three games Tuesday night in the Kohl Center against the Purdue Boilermakers (14-13, 7-9) in a 69–65 win.
Wisconsin proved again they’re one of the most formidable teams in the country at home, as they improved to 12-1 at the Kohl Center. Purdue’s size made it difficult on the Badgers’ bigs at the outset, but Greg Gard countered by playing three to four small, quick guards and stretching the floor.
The conference matchup started off slow, just as they have in a lot of Wisconsin games this season. But D’Mitrik Trice finally got things going three minutes in with a three from just outside the arc.
A few moments later, Brevin Pritzl stripped Sasha Stefanovic clean and threw down a two-handed slam. Remarkably, it was the Badgers’ first fast-break bucket in their past four games.
Back-to-back threes from Aleem Ford, who had a career game, put UW up 13–4 eight minutes in.
A four-minute drought brought the Boilermakers back within a point, but Wisconsin held on to the lead until the 1:48 mark when two Aaron Wheeler free throws made it 24–22 Purdue.
Ford then hit another pair of back-to-back threes to give him 14 points, and Trice sliced through the defense to make it 30–27 UW headed into the half. Wisconsin hit six three-pointers compared to Purdue’s two — a theme that would carry over into the second half.
After the break, two deep balls from Nate Reuvers and Brad Davison got Gard’s squad out to a fast start, and a dunk by Ford put them up 11.
Purdue kept pushing and pushing, but couldn’t quite get over the hump because Wisconsin killed them on the offensive glass. Despite their size disadvantage, Wisconsin hauled in five offensive boards in just four possessions between the 4:04 and 1:00 marks.
Without those boards and their huge night from the free-throw line — they shot 19-for-20 (95%) from the line — Wisconsin almost certainly would have fallen.
Wisconsin led throughout and held on late to get a solid resume booster that may have pushed Purdue off the bracket when it comes to March.
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Ford finished with a career-high 19 points, along with seven rebounds, and Reuvers turned it around in the second half to finish with 12 points, six boards and two blocks.
Game-sealing free throws saw Trice and Davison score 13 apiece, and the Badgers got a big 13 minutes from Trevor Anderson to change the pace on the sometimes oversized Boilermakers.
The lone bright spots for Purdue came from the bench, where they got 17 from Trevion Williams and 11 from Stefanovic. Outside of Nojel Eastern’s 14 points, Purdue’s starting lineup scored a total of just six points.
Wisconsin will stay in Madison and look to stay hot against No. 25 Rutgers, who has surprised the Big Ten and has proven they can play with anyone.
Catch the game live Sunday at noon on the Big Ten Network or listen in live on the Badger Radio Network.