The Journal Gazette
Monday, January 03, 2022 9:30 pm

Third-ranked Purdue falls to No. 23 Wisconsin, 74-69, in Big Ten re-opener

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

WEST LAFAYETTE – Jonathan Davis scored a career-high 37 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds to lead No. 23 Wisconsin to a 74-69 upset victory over No. 3 Purdue tonight at Mackey Arena, sending the Boilermakers to 1-2 in Big Ten play. Zach Edey led Purdue with a career-high 24 points, plus 10 rebounds.

3 Takeaways

  • Somebody has to guard the arc: In its final two non-conference tune-up games, against Incarnate Word and Nicholls State, Purdue's opponents shot 45% from beyond the 3-point line and made a combined 28 long-range shots, keeping both games closer than they should have been, though the Boilermakers won both. Coach Matt Painter said defending the arc would be a point of emphasis in the days leading up to this game, but the Badgers were likewise able to work their way into a bevy of open looks from distance thanks to the type of Purdue defensive breakdowns Painter has been harping on all season. The box score indicates Purdue actually did an outstanding job on the perimeter as Wisconsin shot just 6 of 24 from beyond the arc, including 1 for 12 in the first half, but the Badgers came in as the No. 300 team in the country in 3-point shooting at 30.4% and sent up a parade of bricks on open attempts. A better shooting team might have run the Boilers off the floor in the first half. 
  • Purdue found its offense, eventually: The first half tonight was arguably Purdue's worst offensive half of the season and the Boilermakers were only close at halftime – they trailed 29-24 – because of the string of Wisconsin misses and three 3s from forward Mason Gillis, which accounted for 38% of Purdue's offensive production in the first 20 minutes. At halftime, the Boilermakers, who came into the game No. 3 in the country in shooting at 51.6%, were hitting only 32% from the field. That changed in the second half. The Boilermakers had a little bit more pep in their step, cut harder, threw sharper passes and a found a way to get more open shots against a tough Wisconsin defense. Those open shots led to a run of 3s early in the half, with Jaden Ivey making two 3s and Sasha Stefanovic and Ethan Morton adding one apiece in a 4:43 span to push Purdue in front for a while. The other change in the second half was Edey's ability to get deep position. He struggled to do so before halftime and was only 2 for 5 from the field, but in the second half he began planting himself right next to the basket and presenting an enormous target for Purdue entry passes. The Badgers had no way to stop him when he got that close and he bullied the Wisconsin bigs, except when he left the game with some foul trouble. Painter thought Edey should have gotten a few more attempts from the foul line, but the refs were not forthcoming with whistles. In the second half, Purdue shot 47% from the field.
  • Davis, a star, gets the best of Ivey: The two best guards in the Big Ten went head to head tonight. Davis and Ivey guarded each other when both were on the court and both showed off their top-end athleticism on multiple occasions. Ivey is one of the early favorites for Big Ten Player of the Year, but Davis outplayed him tonight and proved he belongs in the conversation, as well. Davis attacked Ivey early in the game and forced his Purdue counterpart out of the game with foul trouble midway through the first half, one of the more important developments early in the game. Then, during a game-turning 15-5 Wisconsin run midway through the second half, Davis poured in 10 points, including a go-ahead 3, and turned in a highlight-reel defensive play with a flying block of a Trevion Williams finger-roll attempt in transition. Later, he provided the dagger, with a long 3 that put Wisconsin up five with 90 seconds left. Ivey might be a lottery pick next season, but Davis had the better of the pair's matchup tonight and willed Wisconsin to the win.

Player of the Game: Jonathan Davis

Davis, who came into the game third in the Big Ten with 20.8 points per contest, scored 27 of his points in the second half and went 13 of 24 from the field overall. He turned in his second straight double-double (and second of his career) and his second career 30-point game. He also had three assists, two blocks and two steals.


This was the first of 18 straight Big Ten games for the Boilermakers to finish the regular season. They are in pursuit of their record 25th conference title. ... Purdue is now 8-1 at Mackey Arena this season. ... Edey had 19 points and seven rebounds in the second half. He put Purdue in front with six points during an 8-2 Boilers run that left the hosts ahead 62-60 with 3:54 to go. He finished with his fourth double-double of the season. ... Fort Wayne native and Blackhawk Christian graduate Caleb Furst came off the bench and played six minutes, though he did not attempt a shot. He missed the Boilers' previous game, against Nicholls State, in the team's health and safety protocol. ... Purdue shot 41% from the field and 8 of 20 from beyond the arc, missing its last three from deep. The Boilers were just 15 of 24 from the foul line. ... Gillis went 3 for 4 from beyond the 3-point line, equaling a career-high for made 3s. He is 11 of 21 from deep this season and has made seven of those 3s in the last three games. 

What's Next?

Purdue will be back in action Saturday, when they travel to the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania to take on Penn State (6-5, 1-2 Big Ten). The game will tip off at noon and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. Penn State is coached by former Purdue associate head coach Micah Shrewsberry, who was with the Boilermakers for three seasons starting in 2018-19. Fort Wayne native and Bishop Dwenger graduate Grady Eifert, who played for Purdue from 2016 to 2019, is a graduate assistant on Shrewsberry's staff. The Nittany Lions earned their first Big Ten win Sunday with a 61-58 triumph over Indiana and play Northwestern on Wednesday.

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