Despite a 30-point performance from Nigel Hayes and two others scoring in double-figures, the Wisconsin Badgers fell to the Purdue Boilermakers 90-81 Sunday in West Lafayette. The Boilers started hot and never cooled on the way to shooting 62 percent from the field.
Purdue was led by Caleb Swanigan who scored 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Swanigan was 7-9 from the field and made 14-17 free throws. Swanigan, who is only a freshman, would be a major force in the Big Ten if he decides to stay beyond this year. The Boilers had three other scorers reach double-digits with P.J. Thompson scoring 22, A.J. Hammons scoring 16 and Vince Edwards scoring 11.
The Badgers played well on the offensive end as well. In scoring 80 points, the Badgers out-performed their season average by 10. They also shot 43 percent from the field which is right on par with their season average. The Badgers just couldn’t quite match the offensive juggernaut that was the Purdue Boilermakers Sunday night. The Boilers put on a performance that surely made Miss Vicky very proud on her birthday weekend.
The difference in the game came in the post. The Boilers sport two 7-footers and Swanigan who plays well above his listed height of 6’9”. The Badgers tallest player is Ethan Happ at 6’9”.
To Happ’s credit though, he played a strong game Sunday. He scored 14 hard-earned points largely against opponents bigger and stronger than him. He also showed tremendous heart on the defensive end playing against bigger and stronger opposition in the post all night. Happ played 29 gritty minutes on the night.
Despite the loss, the Badgers can take several positives away from Sunday’s defeat at Mackey Arena. The Badgers continue to shoot the basketball incredibly well and continue to receive production from a variety of sources. The Badgers got double-digit performances from Hayes, Happ and Zak Showalter. Three other Badgers scored 6 points or more on the night.
The Badgers return to the floor Thursday in the Big Ten Tournament. They play the winner of Nebraska-Rutgers at 8 p.m. from Indianapolis. You can catch the game on ESPN2.