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No. 2 Purdue defeats Badgers, claim 7th consecutive victory

Purdue Wisconsin Basketball
Posted at 9:24 AM, Feb 05, 2024

MADISON (AP) — Purdue's inside-outside combination of Zach Edey and Braden Smith is a tough matchup for the Boilermakers' opponents.

Even the strongest ones.

Smith scored 19 points and Edey joined another exclusive club as the second-ranked Boilermakers beat No. 6 Wisconsin 75-69 on Sunday for their seventh consecutive victory. Purdue is 6-0 this season against teams that were ranked 11th or higher at the time of the game.

“We have an elite point guard and we have an elite center,” coach Matt Painter said. “So when you go into a team, you’ve got to be able to game-plan for Zach Edey. It’s obvious, right? But then, you’ve also got to game-plan for Braden Smith and his ability to pass, because they both make other people better.”

Lance Jones scored 20 points for Purdue (21-2, 10-2), which took the lead for good midway through the first half and extended its Big Ten lead to 1½ games.

Wisconsin (16-6, 8-3) lost its second straight as it prepares for a two-game trip to Michigan and Rutgers.

Edey had 18 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. The 7-foot-4 center has 201 career blocks, joining Patrick Ewing and David Robinson as the only players in NCAA history to combine 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 200 blocks while shooting at least 60% from the field.

“Those are elite, elite basketball players, Hall of Famers,” Edey said. “Being mentioned in the same air as them is great, obviously. I kind of want to keep working. I'm not satisfied with just, ‘Oh, I can tell my grandkids I did this.’ I want to keep going. I want to keep becoming a better basketball player every year.”

Edey has scored at least 10 points in an NCAA-leading 74 straight games. Edey broke Rick Mount’s 54-year-old school record for consecutive double-figure scoring games on Wednesday by going for 30 points in a 105-96 overtime victory over Northwestern.

Tyler Wahl led Wisconsin with a season-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists.

This marked the sixth consecutive Purdue-Wisconsin game to be decided by six points or fewer. The teams meet again March 10 at Purdue.

Purdue took the lead for good midway through the first half and extended the margin to 10 with about 14 1/2 minutes remaining.

Wahl converted an offensive rebound off his own missed 3-point attempt to cut Purdue’s lead to 59-57 with 4:46 left. Edey then missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity for the second time in the second half, but Mason Gillis got the offensive rebound to set up Jones’ driving layup with 4:15 remaining.

Wisconsin trailed 66-61 when Chucky Hepburn got a midcourt steal with 1½ minutes left, but the Badgers couldn't convert the turnover into points. Jones then made a driving layup attempt with 59 seconds left to give Purdue all the breathing room it would need.

“They're really complete,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “They've got a lot of pieces. We have a lot of pieces. But the difference maker obviously is Zach. You can't replicate or simulate that.”

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: The Boilermakers won this one by outrebounding Wisconsin 42-29 and outscoring the Badgers 21-14 in second-chance points. Edey had six of Purdue's 14 offensive rebounds. “He's the best that I've been around at tapping the ball back,” Painter said. “You always think it's over-the-back, and then you go back and watch and he's just 7 inches taller than the guy. His effort is amazing, for someone who is carrying around that kind of cargo.”

Wisconsin: The Badgers hurt themselves by shooting 3 of 19 from 3-point range. Although AJ Storr scored 14 points, he shot 4 of 15 overall and 0 of 4 from beyond the arc.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Purdue figures to stay at No. 2. The Badgers may have trouble remaining in the top 10.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Hosts Indiana on Saturday.

Wisconsin: At Michigan on Wednesday.