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Feb 3, 2024 3:17 am

No. 2 Purdue, No. 6 Wisconsin ready for key Big Ten battle

The top spot in the Big Ten will be at stake when No. 2 Purdue visits No. 6 Wisconsin on Sunday as the Badgers look to rebound from an upset loss.

Purdue (20-2, 9-2 Big Ten) avenged one of its two defeats with a 105-96 overtime win over visiting Northwestern on Wednesday, scoring 24 points in the extra session.

Wisconsin (16-5, 8-2) lost 80-72 in overtime at Nebraska on Thursday, blowing a 16-point halftime lead to drop a half-game back of the Boilermakers.

Zach Edey had 30 points and 15 rebounds to pace the Boilermakers against the Wildcats, despite going just 8 of 17 from the free-throw line. Lance Jones added 26 points, hitting 5 of 7 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.

The 7-foot-4 Edey moved into fifth place on the school’s all-time career scoring list with 2,047 points. Dave Schellhase is fourth at 2,074 points. Edey also set a school record by scoring in double figures for the 73rd straight game and tied a school record with the 54th double-double of his career.

“He’s a special player,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “He plays hard and he gives his best. You know, he doesn’t pick his spots. A lot of times when you have guys that are that big and carrying that much cargo, they’ll pick their spots. But he runs the court, he plays ball-screen defense, he rebounds, he posts hard. He gives it to you.”

Edey, the reigning National Player of the Year, leads the Big Ten in scoring at 23.4 points per game and rebounding with 11.6 per contest. Jones averages 12.7 points and has a team-high 48 3-pointers.

The Boilermakers average a conference-leading 85.8 points and allow 70.0 per game. Purdue outrebounds opponents by 11 per game and has made more free throws (397 of 554) than opponents have attempted (217 of 313).

Wisconsin led Nebraska 43-27 at the half but committed nine second-half turnovers that allowed the Huskers to pull into a 67-67 tie at the end of regulation. Nebraska then scored the final six points in overtime as Wisconsin missed its last four shots and did not score over the last two minutes.

AJ Storr had a game-high 28 points against Nebraska, but the inside tandem of Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl combined for just eight points. Wisconsin was outscored 24-18 in the paint.

“I thought we got completely away from what makes us good,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “You know in the shots we settled for at times, and then obviously turning the ball over and gambling defensively when we didn’t need to gamble.”

Storr, a sophomore transfer from St. John’s, averages a team-leading 16.5 points per game, having posting double-figure totals in 16 straight games. Crowl averages 11.4 points and team-best 7.8 rebounds, and Wahl adds 11.2 points and 5.6 boards.

The Badgers close the regular season at Purdue on March 10.

Purdue won last season’s lone matchup with Wisconsin 63-61 in Madison, Wis., behind Edey’s 17 points and 19 rebounds. The Badgers won both meetings in 2021-22, and each of the past five matchups was decided by five points or fewer.

–Field Level Media

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