Before halftime ended, Purdue was the only B1G champion. Then Purdue won the boot.
Zack Eddy: 17 points, 19 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block
Fletcher Lauer: 13 points, 2 assists
Max Klismit: 19 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist
Chucky Hepburn: 13 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist
For the second straight game, Purdue sought to win the title. This time, Purdue needed a Michigan win or loss to be crowned Solo Big Ten champions. Michigan-Illinois I received the tip at 6 p.m. local time, two hours before the Purdue-Wisconsin game, so it was likely Purdue knew of their situation before their first tip. Then Michigan State and Illinois went into overtime, but Illinois came away with wins, taking the crown for the Boilermakers. Purdue still had a game to play, and they pulled off a gutsy win in which shots never fell again.
Both teams went out a bit flat on this one as Purdue struggled to hit the ball (again) and so did Wisconsin, with both teams hovering around the 25% mark for a while. Zach Edey started the game shooting 1-6 from the free throw line, which was very uncharacteristic. Eddy and Fletcher would lead Lower Purdue at the half with 9 points each, but the credit should be given to Brandon Newman. The Valpo youngster got the start after his efforts against IU and kept his energy up, resulting in a few turnovers that resulted in a layoff on the other end. For the Badgers, it was Isaac Lindsey, who averaged 1.3 ppg prior to tonight, who went 3-3 in shooting and a season-high 8 points. Eddie proved to be a powerhouse on the inside because Wisconsin didn’t want him in. Purdue finished the half up 31-27.
the other half
By rule, one of Purdue’s opponents decided to go nuclear in the second half, scoring 3 after 3. In the under-12 timeout, Wisconsin was 9-17 from deep, which is an absurd number. But somehow, Purdue was neck and neck with Wisconsin, going into the final 10 minutes tied at 45. A back-and-forth battle would ensue, starting with Wisconsin lulling a bit from the depths. Wisconsin was leading 53-52 with 6 minutes left in the game. The game will go back and forth to the wire. After Wisconsin lost deep, two Brandon Newman free throws put Purdue 60-57 with 17 seconds left in the game. Chucky Hepburn would get to the line for the one-and-one with 9.6 points left, and Hepburn would make it both 60-59. Braden Smith would go to the line for two and make both. Purdue missed again with only Wisconsin on the odds-on bonus, which Wisconsin again made. Then it was Ethan Morton’s turn with 4.4 seconds to go, missing the first and hitting the second. A short drive from Wisconsin came on the horn and Purdue escaped with a win.
Things we already knew: Eddie is the best player in the country, Purdue has struggled lately from depth and line, and Purdue has a lot of turnovers. We also knew Brandon Newman was worth starting, bringing high levels of energy to the court and delivering clutch plays on both ends.
Purdue seems slow on defense and a step behind everyone, making driving shots and mid-range shots. It’s a long season but these things need to improve.
Purdue will face Illinois in the regular season finale on Sunday and try to maintain its top seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Your Purdue kettlebells are just as big as Big Ten Champs! #25 has been accomplished and there are more prizes to win. Just keep winning.
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