MADISON, Wis. — In his 10th season at Purdue, head coach Matt Painter has stressed a desire to get back to playing the kind of hard-nosed, physical basketball that defined the Boilermakers’ program for so many years.
They looked every bit the part Tuesday, making No. 4 Wisconsin work for every shot it got, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to knock off the Badgers, who held on late for a 62-55 victory in front of 17,279 at the Kohl Center.
“Every team is good,” Badgers guard Josh Gasser said. “A lot of teams are a little younger or not ranked, but they’re still tough. Purdue is physical and they play hard. That’s how it’s going to be. Teams are going to give us their best shot every game.”
It was far from Wisconsin’s sharpest performance of the season.
Purdue shot 51 percent from the field and held Wisconsin to 43 percent. That number was skewed a bit by an inability to connect from beyond the arc, with the Badgers making just 3 of 14 3-point attempts.
Wisconsin more than made up for the shortcoming, though, by getting to the line 31 times and converting 25.
“The game was won and lost at the free throw line,” Painter said. “We had to be able to get to the line and we didn’t while they were able to get there.”
Center Frank Kaminsky led the Badgers’ free throw parade, hitting 11 of 14. He also made 5 of 9 shots from the field to finish with a game-high 21 points.
Kaminsky spent much of his night matched up against Boilermakers center Isaac Haas, who scored 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor.
“Frank did his job,” said Badgers coach Bo Ryan, who became the program’s winningest coach in Big Ten play. “(Forward) Nigel (Hayes) really helped in the second half to put some size and front pressure on him. They got a couple lobs over the top, but we made them work hard, too.
“They made us work hard to get a shot and we reciprocated. Nigel and Frank did a good job.”
Haas and Kaminsky locked up late in a play that snuffed out the Boilermakers’ chance at an upset.
With the score tied 45-45 with 6:45 to play, the Badgers pulled ahead by six before the ball wound up in Haas’ hands next to the basket. But his shot flew into the hand of Kaminsky, who knocked it out of bounds. When Purdue followed the inbounds play with a turnover, Wisconsin guard Josh Gasser hit one of two free throws to make it 54-47 with just over three minutes to play.
Purdue cut the deficit to five on a dunk by Hammons with 1:15 left, but the Badgers converted four more free throws to close it out.
“It was good to grind out a game like this,” Gasser said. “Low-scoring and we had to fight through adversity. It was what we needed.”
Guard Jon Octeus led the Boilermakers with 15 points and eight rebounds, and Hammons finished with 11 points.
“We had good effort,” Painter said. “I thought our guys did a good job of just being ready to play and understating different things they were running — not really trying to take them out of it but being aware.”
Haas was slapped with a flagrant-1 foul with 6:25 left in the first half, sparking a 10-4 run that put the Badgers ahead on a Kaminsky layup with 3:40 to play.
Wisconsin went into the break up 28-27 thanks to two free throws by Hayes with 0.8 of a second left.
The Badgers were 2 of 11 on 3-point attempts and shot 39 percent from the field in the first half. The Boilermakers shot 54 percent from the floor and made 1 of 2 shots from long range.
NOTES: Wisconsin swept the season series with Purdue in 2013-14 and have won four of the past five. However, since Bo Ryan took over in 2001-02, the Badgers are 11-10 against the Boilermakers. … Purdue has not started Big Ten play 3-0 since 2010-11. … The Boilermakers are one of only two visiting teams, along with Illinois, to win three games at the Kohl Center. They are 3-11 in Madison since
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