Purdue hands Badgers 5th straight defeat

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald PhotoEven with a career-high 21 points from forward Keaton Nankivil, the Badgers couldn’t prevent the Purdue Boilermakers from giving them their fifth straight loss, 64-63 at the Kohl Center Tuesday night.Three consecutive 3-pointers turned a five-point lead for Wisconsin (12-8, 3-5 Big Ten) into a two-point lead for Purdue (16-4, 5-2 Big Ten), and the Boilermakers never looked back.“Three-minute mark, two-minute mark, one-minute mark. You know you took away their drives to the basket that they got in the first half, and you know you’re going to have to help and recover,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. “But you know they were big moments for them, and their players hit them.”Purdue head coach Matt Painter was particularly impressed with his team’s ability to stay focused despite being down late in the game.“Our guys did a pretty good job,” Painter said. “But I thought we really showed a lot of resiliency by stepping up and making 3’s and getting some timely stops there at the end by being able to chase down some loose balls.”The Badgers did have a chance to tie the game in the waning minutes, but freshman guard Jordan Taylor’s leaning shot in the lane bounced out and fell into the hands of Purdue forward JaJuan Johnson, who nailed both his free throws to seal the game.“We got to the rim,” Ryan said. “That’s what we were trying to do. If they shut that out, we sent shooters to spots, and we sealed the opposite blocks. That’s what we were looking to do.”“We were just trying to make a play and the shot was there; I thought I had a good look — it just did not fall for me,” Taylor added. “There is nothing I can do about it now. We just have to get ready for Northwestern on Saturday and try to get back on track.”The heartbreaking loss has been a bit of a trend for the Badgers during the recent losing streak. During the stretch, Wisconsin has lost three of the five games by fewer than five points.Following the loss, junior guard Trevon Hughes shared his frustration about the current streak and the team’s inability to hit shots down the stretch.“Shots are not falling,” he said. “We are not shooting a good percentage. [We are not] taking care of the ball. It is frustrating, because we are always there, like I said, and we just cannot close it out, and other teams are getting the victory when they should not. But they played well, and they deserve that win.”The Badgers started the game on top, with an early run capped by a Marcus Landry fast-break layup that sent the crowd into a frenzy. After the Badgers went up by as many as five points, however, the Boilermakers came storming back to push their own lead to as high as nine points with just over a minute left in the first half.As the second half started, Hughes and Landry hit back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game.After consecutive jumpers by Purdue’s E’Twaun Moore and Johnson, Nankivil began to heat up, stroking his second of five straight 3-pointers, but it wasn’t enough for the Badgers.“He played big, but when it came down to it, we gave 36 or 32 strong minutes,” Taylor said. “But we could not close it out at the end. It is just frustrating.”Nankivil and Hughes led the Badgers in scoring with 21 and 15 points, respectively. Regardless, on a night where Wisconsin narrowly lost for the fifth straight time, few players were focused on their individual performances.“I’m not concerned about how many minutes I’m getting on the court,” Taylor said. “I’m going out there trying to help the team turn this thing around. I can’t remember the last time a Wisconsin team lost five games in a row — I doubt I was even alive then.”The loss marks the first time since the 1998 season that the Badgers lost five straight games and the first time during Ryan’s tenure as head coach. As for getting back on track, Hughes is already looking ahead.“We have to get ready for Northwestern,” Hughes said. “We cannot relax because five losses in a row is ridiculous. But we cannot look at it like that. We have to look at it like we just lost tonight. We have another game and another one after that. We have good players on our team. It was a bad loss. It is going to hurt, but we are going to get it past us and get ready for the next one.”last_img