WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP)Isaiah Thompson scored 14 points and Purdue responded to coach Matt Painter challenging his players’ toughness with one of the season’s best efforts in a 70-51 home rout of Wisconsin on Friday night.
The Boilermakers (11-9, 4-5 Big Ten) improved to 41-4 lifetime at home against the Badgers (12-8, 5-4). Sasha Stefanovic added 12 points and Purdue had seven scorers contributing at least five points. Purdue also limited the Badgers to their second-lowest point total of the season.
The home team dominated on the boards, 42-16, which included 16 offensive rebounds. Evan Boudreaux had a game-high 13.
Just three days ago, worlds were reversed. Wisconsin hit a program-record 18 3-pointers in an 82-68 home win over Nebraska for a third win in four games while Purdue was humbled 79-62 at home by Illinois for its third loss in four games.
That prompted Painter to put his players on the spot about a lack of intensity.
But from the outset, that wouldn��t be in question this night as the Boilermakers created additional offensive chances with relentless rebounding. A 24-10 first-half edge on the boards included 10 on offense. An early 18-4 scoring run enabled Purdue to build a double-digit lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Defenders hounded the Badgers into forcing too many rushed shots with the possession clock running out. Wisconsin missed eight consecutive shots in one first-half stretch as well as all eight 3-point attempts to trail 33-15 at halftime.
The Badgers finished 7 of 22 from 3-point range while Purdue was 9 of 19.
Purdue built the lead to 41-17 early in the second half, withstood a brief Wisconsin rally and pulled away yet again.
D’Mitrk Trice and Micah Potter led the Badgers with 11 points apiece.
Wisconsin: Living up to the reputation of a middle-tier team, the Badgers didn’t resemble a squad that seemed to be on the rise recently. It’s one thing to lose tough road games, but this one wasn’t anywhere near close. Perhaps coach Greg Gard needs to steal a page from Painter’s playbook and question his players’ toughness.
Purdue: It’s not the first time the Boilers have been surprisingly strong – the lone win in four previous games was a 29-point home rout of No. 8 Michigan State. So why is this team in the Big Ten’s bottom tier and unable to be consistently effective? Purdue has another month to figure that out and try to make something of a so-so season.
Wisconsin: At Iowa on Monday.
Purdue: At Rutgers on Tuesday.
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