January 11, 2009

Purdue knocks UW from conference unbeatens

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Wisconsin has historically struggled when it travels to Mackey Arena on Purdue's campus. Sunday was no different.

The Boilermakers utilized a 19-4 run over a nine-minute span in the first half to push the Badgers into a 25-11 hole that it was unable to recover from.

"We let it get away," UW senior Marcus Landry who finished with nine points on 3-for-15 shooting, said. "It was just a bad day for us. We let it get away from us and could have really hurt them by having them 0-3, but they came out here really prepared and ready to go."

Purdue sophomore JaJuan Johnson set the tone early for the Boilermakers, the only team to beat UW over the Badgers past 22 conference games, by scoring the team's first six points. In fact, Johnson had 14 first half points en route to his game high 20-point day during the 19-4 run that hampered UW's chances.

"JaJuan had 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) and guarded Landry most of the game and did a really good job," Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. "You can't allow good players to get going and that's what we tried to do with Landry.

"We try not to let guys get their heads up and get hot. We did a nice job of that today and JaJuan had a super game like he did against Illinois."

It was clear from the onset that Purdue's pressure defense was bothersome for UW. While the Badgers only committed eight turnovers throughout the game, five of which came from point guard Trevon Hughes, it never got into a consistent flow offensively and was often forced into difficult shots.

Still, as bad as things were going for UW in this one, it only trailed by six points at intermission following an 8-0 spurt of its own to end the half.

"Those threes are good when they go in," UW senior Joe Krabbenhoft who led the team with 13 points and seven rebounds, said in reference to UW's late first half run. "They really helped us don't get me wrong, but they gave it to us in the first half.

"It's just disappointing to stand here and say that. It really is. It hurts pretty bad, but I've always given credit to the other team as does this program and coach Ryan."

Both Robbie Hummel and Chris Kramer returned for Purdue and their impact was evident. Hummel, the Big Ten preseason player of the year, scored 16 points off the bench and Kramer defended Hughes and forced him into turnovers.

"Rob plays 28 minutes and Kramer 21 and they don't turn the basketball over," Painter said. "Obviously as a team we only had four turnovers. Rob helps us with rebounding and Chris does a lot of the intangibles.

"We're a much better team with those guys."

After trading blows with Purdue to start the second half, UW finally cut the Boilermakers lead to four after a Hughes bucket with just under 17 minutes to play. That, however, was the closest UW would get as Purdue went on another 15-4 run that all but ended any hopes of a UW comeback.

"They're good at what they do," Krabbenhoft said. "What they do is try to take teams out of their comfort zone, which ours is get the ball in the post and work it inside-out. When they take us out of that, we're not executing the way we want to and that's what happens.

"We get our tails worked."

UW did not help its chances as it failed to attempt a free throw until the final four minutes of the contest. In fact, Purdue made more than twice as many shots from the charity stripe (13) than Wisconsin attempted (6).

"Well we needed to make all six and we needed to make five or six other shots," UW head coach Bo Ryan said. "Then we could talk. It wasn't a two-point game. You just got to get to the line and put people into position where you can earn it.

"Evidently, we didn't earn it."

UW will return to the Kohl Center Thursday night when it plays host to rival Minnesota.

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