Coach Painter and his Boilermakers came into Madison last year with four seniors and a top-ranking, they left the Kohl Center as victims of one of the biggest upsets in college basketball last year.
This year’s Boilermakers squad features just two seniors and a bunch of young guys around one of the best scorers in the country. Redemption wasn’t going to be easy.
Purdue looked like it had its first signature win of the season when Carsen Edwards pulled up from way behind the top of the three-point line and sank one of his 6 three pointers, giving Purdue a 72-68 lead, but the Badgers weren’t without some magic of their own.
Off a missed three-pointer, D’Mitrik Trice banked in a three-pointer to pull the Badgers within one. After a Boiler basket to push the lead back to three, Trice was there again to answer, draining a pull-up three that tied the game at 74-74, but that gave Purdue the ball with a chance for the last shot.
Carsen Edwards took the ball right of center, dribbled, and pulled-up. Nothing but air, and early, as the ball fell out of bounce with more than three seconds left on the clock. A just beyond half-court heave went wide of the backboard and the Badgers and Boilers were going to overtime.
The game looked like it was going to be decided on the line, where the usually bad free throw shooting Badgers went 11 of 17, and the usually good Boilers struggled even more going 17 of 30 at the line. Edwards missed a free throw. Ryan Cline missed a free throw. Trevion Williams, making his first career start, missed a free throw, a 1 of 6 performance from the line for the game.
While the Boilers kept keeping the Badgers into it, the Badgers fed their Player of the Year candidate, Ethan Happ, who had himself a ball game. The senior controlled the game, scoring 31 points, shooting 14-17 from the floor, and grabbing 13 rebounds to go with 6 assists.
But as good as he was, Purdue was able to force Happ into 8 turnovers. Including in the final minute when a double team by Eifert led to an errant pass and Grady Eifert, former walk-on now starter, stepped up to the line as a 60% free throw shooter.
He made both. Purdue 81, Wisconsin 79.
The Badgers got the ball with a chance to even up or take the lead, but Cline closed out on a drive by Davison and then stole the entry pass into Happ while the Boilers trailed the game by a point.
Carsen Edwards scored a game-high 36 points, and got the chance for redemption at the line after missing four free throws in the game despite making nearly 90% on the year, and sunk the last two free throws to give Purdue a four-point edge and the win in Madison, Wisconsin.