Wisconsin has never fared well against Purdue in Mackey Arena. Coming into Sunday’s matchup, the Badgers were an abysmal 4-38 in that building. Nothing would change for the Badgers, as they were completely dominated by the Boilermakers, 66-55. The loss is the Badgers’ first Big Ten loss this year. Wisconsin failed to handle Purdue in their only regular season matchup of the year.

The matchup between the two top-25 teams certainly didn’t look like one early on. The game was sabotaged by poor shooting on Wisconsin’s end, turnovers on Purdue’s end, and copious amounts of fouling by both teams. There were 20 combined made field goals compared to 16 team fouls combined.

Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown were both in foul trouble, picking up two fouls early on in the first half. Brown played only six minutes in the half, while Greg Gard subbed Hayes back into the game later in the half as the Badgers continued to struggle. Hayes still led the team in first-half scoring with seven points. Bronson Koenig, who was on fire in Wisconsin’s win over Indiana, had only two points in 17 first half minutes. The Badgers were 0/6 from beyond the arc.

Purdue sophomore Caleb Swanigan, who has been one of the Big Ten’s best players early on, dominated in the first half. He totaled nine points, five rebounds, two assists in the first half. Swanigan wasn’t perfect, however, as he turned the ball over four times in the first 20 minutes. 

Coming into the game, Swanigan vs. Ethan Happ was the key matchup. Happ struggled while Swanigan took off, scoring just six points on eight shots with three turnovers himself. The two sophomores came into the game ranked one and two in the conference in rebounding.

After recess, the Badgers seemed to wake up a little bit. The hit their first five shots as they crawled back into the game at 38-34, led by a quick six-point outburst by Happ on nice passing from Hayes. The ground they made up, however, Purdue would quickly take back. After D’Mitrick Trice missed a bunny to potentially make the score 40-38, P.J. Thompson would come down and hit a three and that was followed by a jumper from Ryan Cline, and the Badgers were quickly back down by nine, 45-36. Cline then hit a three, and another jumper to push Purdue’s lead up to 50-36. After that, everything else would just

The ground they made up, however, Purdue would quickly take back. After D’Mitrick Trice missed a bunny to potentially make the score 40-38, P.J. Thompson would come down and hit a three and that was followed by a jumper from Ryan Cline, and the Badgers were quickly back down by nine, 45-36. Cline then hit a three, and another jumper to push Purdue’s lead up to 50-36. In the big final run, the Boilermakers went on a 12-0 run, while the Badgers went over three minutes without scoring.

After that, everything else would just be details as the Badgers wouldn’t test the Boilermakers the rest of the game.

Swanigan came into the game seven straight double-doubles, and he made that eight straight with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Swanigan now has 14 double-doubles this season. A lone positive of the game on the Badgers end was Ethan Happ who got it going after his rough start, who led the Badgers with 17 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Nigel Hayes was the only other Badger to score in double digits, as he finished with 10 points.

In addition to Swanigan, Isaac Haas was extremely difficult for the Badgers to handle as well. Purdue’s 7’2″ behemoth scored 15 points off the bench on only six shots.

Wisconsin will need to improve on their post defense and depth, moving to 2-1 in the conference and playing host to Ohio State Thursday.

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