The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team visited West Lafayette Saturday in desperate need of a victory. The Badgers left Mackey Arena still searching for answers, as the team lost for the third straight time and the fifth time in six games.
Purdue senior forward Matt Kiefer led a first-half rally with 16 points before the break, and junior forward Marcus White contributed a team-high 18 points in the game as the Boilermakers prevailed, 70-62, for just their second win in 10 conference games.
Less than three weeks ago the Badgers led the Big Ten with a 4-0 conference mark, but Wisconsin fell to 5-4 in league play Saturday, which puts them in seventh place in the Big Ten, and 15-7 overall.
UW junior forward Alando Tucker led all scorers with 22 points while playing 37 minutes. But the Badgers continued to struggle from the field, shooting just 38 percent to Purdue’s 49 percent. Kammron Taylor was the only other Badger in double figures, with 11 points on 4 of 11 shooting. The junior point guard played all 40 minutes.
Saturday’s game started well enough for the Badgers, but their fast start proved short-lived.
Taylor followed a Brian Butch jumper with a 3-pointer. Following a Kiefer field goal, Tucker converted and Taylor knocked down another triple, giving UW a 10-2 lead with 16:22 left in the first half.
Kiefer, though, answered with a 3 just 27 seconds later, and he knocked down a pair of free throws 15:18 before halftime. Kiefer’s jumper with 12:54 left in the first half drew Purdue within 12-11 and Gary Ware made a jumper to give the Boilers their first lead of the game, 13-12.
The game was tied twice in the next three minutes, but Purdue took the lead for good on Chris Lutz’s 3-pointer with 7:16 left before halftime. Kiefer followed up Lutz’s triple with one of his own, and he made a 2 on the each of the Boilers next two possessions, giving him 16 of Purdue’s first 27 points, and giving the Boilers an 10-point lead, 27-17.
Purdue went up 12 on Bryant Dillon’s jumper, 29-17, which capped a 12-0 run, and on Marcus White’s bucket, which made it 31-19 with 4:34 left in the first half.
Trailing by seven at halftime, UW quickly drew within 36-31 on Tucker’s basket, just 36 seconds into the second half.
But Wisconsin was out-scored 19-8 over the next 6:20, and trailed 55-39 after Marcus Green’s jumper with 13:04 to play.
Purdue led by double digits for most of the second half, but a Taylor 3-pointer with 2:14 on the clock drew the Badgers within 61-54.
After guard Bryant Dillon missed the first free-throw of a one-and-one for the second straight game, Tucker knocked down a jumper to draw the Badgers within five.
Dillon, though, made his next two free throws, and UW made just one more field goal—guard Michael Flowers’ 3-pointer to make it 68-60 Purdue with 36 seconds left.
Chris Hartley and White cinched the game for the Boilers with four free throws in the final 41 seconds.
Kiefer led all players in rebounding with eight, while Dillon (seven rebounds), White (six) and Lutz (six) were all key components in the Boilers out-rebounding Wisconsin 35-30.
Lutz led all players with six assists and White had a game-best four steals.
Wisconsin had 14 turnovers, including four each by Taylor and Tucker. That tandem took 28 of UW’s 55 shots and made 12 of the team’s 21 field goals.
Sophomore forward Brian Butch had to be helped off the court late in the second half after aggravating a left ankle injury. Freshman forward Joe Krabbenhoft scored nine points off the bench, but played just 11 minutes before fouling out.