West Lafayette, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - The ninth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers
will try to snap out of their funk on Saturday afternoon, as they head to
Mackey Arena for a Big Ten Conference showdown with the Purdue Boilermakers.
Wisconsin was flying high a few weeks back after running out to a 16-0 record,
its best start in program history, but since then it has gone ice cold with
its first three-game losing streak since the 2011-12 season. The Badgers most
recently lost at Minnesota on Wednesday night, 81-68, to slip to 3-3 in the
Big Ten and 3-2 on the road.
Purdue is also coming off a loss earlier in the week, as it dropped a 63-60
double-overtime decision at Northwestern to snap a three-game winning streak.
The Boilermakers, who are also 3-3 in conference play, are 13-6 overall, which
includes an excellent 10-1 mark at Mackey Arena.
In regards to the all-time series, Purdue holds a 105-65 advantage over
Wisconsin, including a 69-56 triumph in the latest meeting on March 3, 2013 in
Madison. The Boilermakers have dominated the Badgers at Mackey Arena over the
years, winning 37-of-40 bouts.
The Badgers shot a respectable 44 percent from the field in their most recent
game and made 19-of-23 from the free-throw line, but their typically-strong
defense let them down in the 13-point loss, as they allowing Minnesota to make
good on a lofty 58.9 percent of its tries from the field. Sam Dekker was
stellar in spite of defeat, posting 20 points on 6-of-12 from the field and 7-
of-8 at the line. Nigel Hayes was the only other player in double figures,
netting 12 points off the bench.
Wisconsin has made a name for itself as one of the nation's top defensive
squads this season, boasting a scoring defense of 63.7 ppg, but the unit has
suffered during its three-game losing streak by allowing 77.7 ppg, a number
which its offense (75.4 ppg on 47.2 percent field goal shooting) cannot
support. Dekker paces the balanced squad with 14.1 ppg and 6.3 rpg, while
Frank Kaminsky (13.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.8 bpg) is also impressive in the paint.
Ben Brust has drained a team-best 50 3-pointers on his way to 12.9 ppg, and
Traevon Jackson (10.9 ppg, 4.2 apg) and Josh Gasser (9.1 ppg) round out a
lineup that has started every game together.
The Boilermakers surrendered leads late in both regulation and the first
overtime before falling victim to a 6-0 Northwestern run in the second extra
session on their way to a three-point loss. An outstanding defensive
performance was spoiled by a dreadful showing on the other end of the floor,
as they shot a meager 27.6 percent from, while scoring just 60 points in 50
minutes of play. A.J. Hammons wasn't especially strong from the floor (3-
of-10) or the foul line (11-of-17) and committed seven turnovers, but he still
finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Terone Johnson and
Ronnie Johnson poured in 16 and 12 points, respectively.
Purdue may not be an offensive powerhouse, but it is much better than it
showed earlier in the week, as it shoots 43.2 percent from the field for 75.2
ppg, which is 5.7 ppg more than it allows. It also lives in the green in terms
of its rebounding (+4.3) and turnover (+0.9) margins. Terone Johnson scores
13.5 ppg to lead the way. Ronnie Johnson (10.9 ppg) hands out 3.7 apg, and
Hammons is a difference maker in the frontcourt with 10.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg and 3.5
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