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Badgers Dash Big Ten Championship Hopes For Boilers

Purdue’s defensive woes continue against Wisconsin.
Casey Abbett
Purdue’s defensive woes continue against Wisconsin.

For the second straight game, and the fourth time in Purdue’s last six losses, a three pointer in a game’s final seconds spelled defeat and, in this case, prevented a possible Big Ten regular-season championship.

Freshman Chucky Hepburn banked in a three-pointer with 1.5 seconds for a 70-67 Wisconsin victory over No. 8 Purdue in Madison Tuesday night. It gave the tenth-ranked Badgers, who have one game left, at least a share of the conference regular season title with Illinois.

Much like its last game at Michigan State, Purdue (24-6, 13-6) spent most of the game playing from behind with its largest deficit being 11 points in the second half, 50-39. The Boilers used a 14-2 run to keep things close and even take the lead, 53-52, with more than seven minutes left in the game.

But they could not string together enough defensive stops to seal the deal.

“I thought our fight on the defensive end was good. It wasn’t perfect but I thought it was good,” said coach Matt Painter after the game. “We’ve gotten some bad breaks, but we also have a lot of room for improvement.”

Badger forward Tyler Wahl scored 19 points while Big Ten Player of the Year candidate Johnny Davis scored 16 and had eight rebounds. Hepburn finished with 17.

Purdue struggled mightily at the foul line. The Boilermakers made 11-for-20 from the charity stripe with Jaden Ivey alone missing six of nine. During the conference season, Purdue entered the game ranked last in free-throw percentage (68.4%).

Despite his free throw woes, Ivey once again led the Boilers with 22 points and five rebounds. Fellow sophomore Zach Edey chipped in 17 and nine rebounds.

“This isn’t the end for us,” said Painter, “We have got another regular season game, we have the Big Ten Tournament. We’ve had some tough losses but that's part of (the season.”

Purdue has one regular season game left with three seniors playing their final home game. Indiana comes to town Saturday as the Boilers try to end their regular season on a high note before the Big Ten tournament (March 9-13) in Indianapolis.

Tip-off is at 2 p.m.

Casey Abbett is a senior at Purdue from LaCrosse, Indiana, and has been been interning as a sports reporter for WBAA since his freshman year.