Byrd scores 22, Purdue upends No. 17 Wisconsin
With the home team ahead by 13 points in the first half Sunday, some in the crowd at the Kohl Center might have thought No. 17 Wisconsin was headed to its fourth straight convincing win.
But everything fell apart for the Badgers.
D.J. Byrd scored nine of his game-high 22 points during a decisive 21-3 second-half run as Purdue upset Wisconsin 69-56, all but eliminating the Badgers from contention in the tightly contested Big Ten race.
Wisconsin (20-9, 11-5 Big Ten) is still mathematically alive in the conference chase, but it seems highly unlikely the Badgers will claim their first title since 2007-08. They'll need to win their final two games, Thursday at No. 9 Michigan State and next Sunday at Penn State, and get a lot of help to claim a share of the championship.
Terone Johnson added 16 points for Purdue (14-15, 7-9), half of which came in the surge that carried the visitors to their first win in Madison since January 2009.
And the Boilermakers did it the way the Badgers have won many games: Tough defense, rebounding and hustling for loose balls.
"I think the numbers show that they did a better job on some of those hustle plays," said Jared Berggren, who led Wisconsin with 13 points in his final home game. "That's something we normally take pride in controlling and getting more than our fair share of rebounds, loose balls, things like that. We didn't do a good job coming away with those and that cost us."
Purdue, which had lost three straight road games and four of five overall, outrebounded Wisconsin 39-27 — including a 12-6 advantage on the offensive glass — and limited the Badgers to 29.6 percent shooting (8-for-27) after halftime.
Wisconsin missed its final 18 3-pointers, including all 12 of its attempts in the second half.
"Those were the most wide-open 3s we've probably had all year," said Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, whose team had won six of seven to keep pace in the Big Ten race. "I saw that 0-for-12 and I knew we had missed a bunch, but I didn't know we missed that many."
Berggren, who hit his first 3-pointer of the day before missing his final five, added: "Obviously, when we don't make any it looks kind of bad. For the most part they were pretty good looks and we didn't knock them down."
The Badgers, who had won their previous three games by at least 20 points, used a 10-0 run to go up 32-19 in the first half and led by nine after Berggren scored six straight points early in the second half.
"We had them down," Wisconsin senior Mike Bruesewitz said, "and we just didn't step on their throats like we needed to."
Instead, the Boilermakers stormed back and seized control, Johnson slicing through the lane for four baskets and Byrd connecting three times from beyond the arc to spark the 21-3 run.
The Badgers, meanwhile, missed five of six shots from the field and committed four turnovers in the 7:31 stretch as they fell behind 54-45.
"We kept getting shots in the paint, and that opened things up for D.J. on the outside," Johnson said. "It was a snowball effect. Guys started making shots, guys started rebounding harder."
It was the first time in Ryan's 12-year tenure that the Badgers lost on Senior Day.
Evans, one of five seniors honored before and after the game, started and extended his streak to 132 consecutive games played despite suffering a right knee sprain in practice Thursday. He and freshman Sam Dekker each finished with 10 points for Wisconsin, while Ben Brust was held to eight — his lowest total in eight games.
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