- Purdue came to the Kohl Center and beat No. 17 Wisconsin at its own game. D.J. Byrd scored nine of his 22 points during a decisive second-half run as the Boilermakers upset the Badgers 69-56 to all but eliminate Wisconsin from contention in the tightly contested Big Ten race. Terone Johnson added 16 points for Purdue (14-15, 7-9 Big Ten), half of which came in the 21-3 surge that carried the visitors to their first win in Madison since January 2009.
And the Boilermakers did it the way the Badgers have won many games: Tough defense, rebounding and hustling for loose balls. ``I think the numbers show that they did a better job on some of those hustle plays,'' Wisconsin's Jared Berggren said. ``That's something we normally take pride in controlling and getting more than our fair share of rebounds, loose balls, things like that. We didn't do a good job coming away with those and that cost us.'' Purdue, which had lost three straight road games and four of five overall, outrebounded Wisconsin 39-27 _ including a 12-6 advantage on the offensive glass _ and limited the Badgers to 29.6 percent shooting (8-for-27) after halftime. Wisconsin (20-9, 11-5) missed its final 18 3-pointers, including all 12 of its attempts in the second half. Berggren scored 13 points and Ryan Evans and Sam Dekker had 10 apiece for the Badgers, who had won six of their previous seven. ``I thought our guys did a good job taking them out of rhythm, and when they had a couple that were open, I thought they rushed them a little bit,'' Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said. ``Sometimes that happens when you fight to get an open one.'' Meanwhile, Wisconsin couldn't handle the combination of Johnson slicing through the lane and Byrd connecting from beyond the arc. ``We kept getting shots in the paint, and that opened things up for D.J. on the outside,'' said Johnson, who scored 10 points in the second half. ``It was a snowball effect. Guys started making shots, guys started rebounding harder.'' Byrd hit three 3-pointers and Johnson added four baskets in the big run for Purdue. Wisconsin, meanwhile, missed five of six shots from the field and committed four turnovers in the 7:31 stretch as it fell behind 54-45. ``I thought we really did a good job rebounding, offensively and defensively,'' said Byrd, who hit six of nine 3-pointers and matched his season high for points. ``It gave us extra opportunities to knock down shots and extra opportunities just to have the ball in our hands.'' The Badgers, who won their previous three games by at least 20 points, opened up a 13-point lead in the first half and led by nine early in the second half. ``We had them down, and we just didn't step on their throats like we needed to,'' Wisconsin's Mike Bruesewitz said. Sandi Marcius complemented Byrd and Johnson, scoring eight of his 10 points in the second half to reach double figures for just the second time this season. ``We kept battling back,'' Painter said. ``For this team, it's only happened one time all year. It's a real tribute to our guys just staying with it this time of year.'' Wisconsin is still mathematically alive in the Big Ten chase, but it seems highly unlikely the Badgers will claim their first title since 2007-08. They'll need to win their final two games, Thursday at No. 9 Michigan State and next Sunday at Penn State, and get a lot of help to claim a share of the championship. It also was the first time in Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan's 12-year tenure that the Badgers lost on Senior Day. Evans, one of five seniors honored before and after the game, started and extended his streak to 132 consecutive games played despite suffering a right knee sprain in practice Thursday.
Written By: Associated Press