January 9, 2010

UW halts Purdue winning streak at 14

MADISON - If someone would have prophesized before Wisconsin took on No. 4 ranked Purdue Saturday afternoon that Trevon Hughes and Jon Leuer were only going to combine for five points in the first half and UW would still have the halftime lead, you probably would have thought they were fit for some sort of therapy.

But then again, you also probably would have forgotten about what Jordan Taylor and Jason Bohannon are capable of.

Behind 23 bench points from Taylor (a new career high) and another 20 from Bohannon, the Badgers jumped on the Boilermakers and held them off for a 73-66 win, marking the first loss for a Purdue squad that was just one win shy of setting a new school record for best start in its history.

"Those guards were pretty good today," Purdue head coach Matt Painter said following his team's first loss against Wisconsin since 2007. "Their guards were very efficient."

Looking across the stat sheet it becomes easy to see what Painter is talking about. The three Badger guards of Hughes, Bohannon and Taylor shot the same number of shots as they did at Michigan State earlier in the week, but instead of combining for seven makes, the trio hit 16.

Those shots falling, and the determined effort from Taylor who carried the Badgers for a good portion of the first half when Hughes got into foul trouble, were the deciding factors of the game.

"When you have a point guard like Trevon Hughes go to the bench and you've got 14 or 13 minutes left to go, you're dogging the point guard," UW head coach Bo Ryan said. "He's got to bring the ball up for the next 14 minutes of the first half and we're still hanging in there at halftime.

"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that that was the game right there because very easily, with Purdue and the way they do things, that could have been 10 or 15 point half in their favor."

When Hughes picked up his second foul just over six minutes into the game, Taylor came in with the Badgers clinging to a 10-8 lead. After the Badgers stormed out of the gates to create a quick 8-0 edge, Purdue seemingly had the momentum in its favor.

That was until Taylor came in and finished the first half by hitting 4-of-6 shots for 13 points.

He also had help from several other young players in Mike Bruesewitz and Rob Wilson, who helped spur the first half charge that kept the Badgers ahead at the break.

"I thought their bench was great," Painter said. "When you're in foul trouble you've just got to kind of hold for a while. In their case, a couple of guys got in there and got a couple of extended minutes. It's just the same philosophy. They have to be solid, they have to be able to give themselves and their team a chance to come out in the second half and be able to play with their starters and their main guys.

"Those two guys were able to do that."

While Taylor and several other young bench players came into the game and helped steer the Badgers onto the right track, there was an instance in the first half that may have given UW momentum entering the final period.

Mike Bruesewitz, who finished with one point and five rebounds in six minutes of action, missed a three short off the front rim in the final minute of the half with his team up three and Wilson reeled in the offensive board.

After collecting himself, the sophomore guard launched himself up toward the rim in a crowd and finished a tough bucket to give UW a 28-23 lead. After the play and in his elation, Wilson incidentally socked Robbie Hummel in the face with his elbow. As a result, he was slapped with a technical foul.

"They don't care about intent anymore," Ryan said. "It just so happens that Robbie was there. Everybody knows there was nothing (intentional), the officials knew it and everybody knew it. But, they said this year if there's blood they automatically go (to replay).

"I always thought it was intent. So now, I'm going to be on the lookout for that. I did not know that because there was absolutely no intent anywhere of doing anything."

Hummel, who finished with 13 points on 3-of-13 shooting, knocked down both free throws and Chris Kramer, who chipped in nine points, scored back to back buckets to trim UW's lead to one at the break.

But apparently, the hostility at the end of the first half fueled the Badgers because UW stormed out of the second half gates with a 17-4 run that broke open what was a back and forth game.

"It was very big for us to get that momentum back right after the half after they went on that little 6-0 run to end," Bohannon, who's 20 points tied his previous career high, said. "It was very good for us."

Following that UW run that helped open a 14-point edge early in the second half, Purdue started to slowly chip away.

Eventually the Boilermakers, behind a 24-point effort from E'Twaun Moore, were able to cut the Badgers lead down to six with 80 seconds left in the game and five with 10 seconds left, but it was too little too late.

Wisconsin was able to match every Purdue punch with a counter of its own and finished off a team that hadn't come up short in a game all season.

"I believe in our guys," Ryan said. "They'll go toe-to-toe with anybody anytime just like everybody else does. We happened to get this 40 minutes.

"We beat a good team. We beat a very good team."

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