(MADISON, Wi.)- No. 5 Purdue (25-5 | 14-5) takes down Wisconsin (16-13 | 8-11) 63-61 in a gritty win. The Purdue Boilermakers are the outright 2023 Big Ten Conference Champions, and claimed their 25th championship, the most in the entire conference.
On Thursday night, the Boilermakers made more history with picking up their 25th regular season win for the second consecutive season. That has been done just one other time in school history back in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. They’ve achieved 25 wins with being one of three teams in the top 20 that’s 11th in offensive and 12th in defensive efficiency.
Purdue scored 20 of their points in the paint in the first half and had Zach Edey on top of the leading scorer list early. Edey had 9 points and 5 rebounds for the Boilermakers to take a 31-27 lead into the locker room at the half.
The second half was yet again another slow start for the Boilermakers to put the ball in the hoop. For the first three minutes both teams would stay at the 31-27 score from the first half. It was not until the nation’s leader in double doubles, Zach Edey finally broke the Boilermakers onto the board while getting into double figures for the game. Edey now has 23 double doubles on the year 33-27.
Wisconsin found its footing around the arc hitting 5 three-point jumpers to steal the lead from Purdue. Max Klesmit was troubling for the Boilermakers to keep an eye on as his contributions brought juice back into the crowd 41-39.
Ticking just under 10 minutes left to play Wisconsin shot its first free throw of the game going 1-1 whereas Purdue was 2-8. Zach Edey had not fared well from the line going 1-6 on his attempts 48-48.
Starting down the final stretch in the second half the Boilermakers and Badgers began the foot race to the finish. At the 10-minute mark just seven lead changes were in the game. Neither team had led more than a point.
Then in the final eight minutes, 13 lead changes and 8 ties had Purdue on top with a minute to go 58-57.
Matt Painter pumped the brakes on Wisconsin’s speed to get down the floor and find shooters on the perimeter while giving fouls to work the clock. It wasn’t till the end of the game Wisconsin had opportunities at the free throw line hitting 5-5 to Purdue’s 11-18 on the night.
That strategy by the Naismith Coach of the Year candidate, proved to be successful as in the clutch moment for Wisconsin to potentially win, Max Klesmits’ long three pointer fell well short of the rim and the Boilermakers finished the job winning 63-61.
BIG PERFORMANCES: Zach Edey (17 Pts, 19 Rbs, 3 As), Fletcher Loyer (13 Pts, 2 As, 6-11 FG), Ethan Morton (7 Pts, 2 As, 2 Rbs)
UP NEXT: The Purdue Boilermakers are headed back to Mackey Arena for their final home game of the 2023 season. A bye week awaits the Boilermakers in the Big Ten tournament after clinching the conference title now the team will focus on the Big Ten tournament honors. Two ranked Indiana basketball teams will participate in the Big Ten tournament with one having a sweep on the other setting up madness for the month of March. Tip off in Mackey Arena on March 5th is at 12:30PM.
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