Boilers/Badgers Battle for Top Spot
by: Steven Stremming, Excel H Sports/USBWA
On the first Sunday of the month of February, in front of 17,071 fans in Madison, Wisconsin, the top ranked Excel H Sports, Purdue Boilermakers battled the sixth ranked Excel H Sports, Wisconsin Badgers for first place in the B1G Ten.
To say the least, there was no disappointment as the game was nip and tuck throughout, all though the Boilermakers took a lead they would never relinquish midway in the first half.
The game was a battle of wills between Painters troops and Gards’.
Back and forth all game with differences being in the few not the many but in the end it was the Boiler back court that was the difference.
Lance Jones, the Southern Illinois transfer, who has became a Mackey favorite was non stop in his production all day. Every time the Badgers would close the margin to within three points, Jones would shoot a dagger into the Badgers and secure yet another five point margin.
Whether it was Jones’ three point abilities or his driving layups, Purdue kept the lead.
Not to be outdone was the play of Sophomore Braden Smith.
The Westfield, Indiana ball handling wizard was sharp once again in this tough and rumble game as Smith would assist on three buckets, would make two key steals late in the game or his six rebounds in the thick of the lane.
Fletcher Loyer made his afternoon account too as he hit six of seven free throws and connected on three of seven shots from the field.
Yes, then there is the reigning National Player of the Year, Toronto, Ontario’s Zach Edey.
Edey broke the legend Rick Mounts double-double record Wednesday night and now has added yet another game, his 55th. To Mount’s credit though, his staggering numbers were done in only three years, so this one might need an asterisk.
Edey was seven of thirteen from the floor, four of eight from the charity stripe, 13 rebounds, six offensive, three blocks for 18 points.
Those three blocks also put Edey in rare air as he joined the Admiral David Robinson (Navy) and the great Patrick Ewing (Georgetown) as the only men in the history of college basketball to collect 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 200 blocks and shoot 60% percent from the floor!
Heide, Furst, Morton and Gillis also contributed to this win.
For the Badgers, who played with intensity as always, Tyler Wahl, once again proved he is elite. Wahl would lead the Badgers in scoring with 20 points on ten of sixteen from the field, seven boards and five assists and stellar play in and around the basket.
Max Klesmit added 10 points, Steven Crowl added eight points and five boards, A J Storr scored 14 points with six of seven coming from the charity stripe.
Chucky Hepburn added six points and five assists.
Central Noble High School product Connor Essegian added six points on three of seven shooting.
Look for both Purdue and Wisconsin to remain atop the B1G Ten standings and both be announced for the NCAA tournament.
In a writer and editor’s note, it was nice to see both teams battle on the floor with no nonsense. Both teams battled each other and helped each other off the deck. Well done!
(The following is credit sourced to Purdue University Athletics)
- Purdue improved to 21-2 overall and 10-2 in the Big Ten standings with a 75-69 win over No. 6-ranked Wisconsin in Madison on Sunday.
- Purdue is 21-2 for the second straight year (22-1 a year ago) and a win on Saturday against Indiana will match Purdue’s best 24-game start in school history (done three previous times).
- The win was Purdue’s seventh straight win overall and fourth straight win on the road.
- Purdue now has eight Big Ten games remaining, with five at home and three on the road. Purdue (10-2) leads the Big Ten standings by a game-and-a-half over Wisconsin (8-3).
- The four straight road wins is tied for the fifth-longest road winning streak in America and is the longest among major-conference teams.
- Purdue’s seven-game winning streak is now the ninth-longest streak in the country. Purdue has had three different win streaks this year of seven games.
- Purdue now has the most wins of any team in the Kohl Center all-time with seven. Matt Painter is now 7-8 against Wisconsin in the Kohl Center.
- Purdue won its first road game over a top-6 ranked opponent since March 5, 1994, a 95-94 win over No. 3-ranked Michigan. It was Purdue’s first road win over a top-10 ranked opponent since Feb. 17, 2010, a 60-57 win over No. 9-ranked Ohio State.
- Purdue played its sixth game this season against an AP top-11 ranked team, now owning a 6-0 record with wins over Gonzaga, Tennessee, Marquette, Arizona, Illinois and Wisconsin.
- Matt Painter improved to 10-4 all-time in top-10 showdowns (both teams ranked in the top 10). Purdue has won six of its last seven top-10 showdowns.
- Purdue owns a 15-5 record against top-25 ranked teams since the start of the 2021-22 season – the best winning percentage of any team in America.
- Purdue won its eighth game against top-10 teams in the last three years, the third-most wins nationally and the highest winning percentage of any team (.889).
- Purdue’s seven straight wins over AP top-10 ranked teams (2022-23 à Gonzaga, Duke; 2023-24 à Tennessee, Marquette, Arizona, Illinois, Wisconsin) ties the longest streak of wins over AP top-10 teams in Big Ten history (Ohio State – 2010-12; Michigan State – 2000; Ohio State 1960-61).
- Purdue’s seven straight wins over AP Top-10 ranked teams is tied for the 11th longest streak in NCAA history.
- Purdue’s five AP top-10 wins this year are tied for the most by a Big Ten team in the last 30 seasons.
- Purdue is now 17-10 (.630) in Big Ten road games over the last three seasons.
- Purdue now owns 15 quad-1 and quad-2 victories, including a nation’s-best eight quad-1 victories. No other team in America has more than 11 quad-1 and quad-2 victories combined.
- The win was Purdue’s 50th victory since the start of last year, now owning a 50-8 overall record – the fourth team to reach 50 wins since the start of last year (Houston, Florida Atlantic, UConn).
- Purdue has won 42 straight games when shooting a higher field goal percentage than its opponent (47.4 percent to 41.5 percent).
- Sixteen of Purdue’s 21 wins this year have come against KenPom top-100 ranked teams. Purdue has played the nation’s toughest schedule.
- Zach Edey set a school-record with his 55th career double-double with 18 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. He scored in double-figures in his 100th career game, the second-highest total in the country.
- Zach Edey surpassed 200 career blocks in the victory and is now only the third player in NCAA history to have scored 2,000 points with 1,000 rebounds, 200 blocks and shoot at least 60.0 percent from the field (David Robinson, Patrick Ewing).
- Edey moved into sixth place on the Big Ten’s all-time rebounds list (1,115), passing Ohio State great Herb Williams (1978-81).
- Lance Jones scored 20 points with six rebounds and three assists. Jones is now averaging 15.6 points in Big Ten Conference play, while shooting 38.2 percent from 3-point range (34-of-89).
- In his last two games, Jones is averaging 23.0 points and shooting 8-of-14 (.571) from 3-point range.
- Braden Smith tallied 19 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Smith is the only player in America averaging at least 12.0 points, 7.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game (12.4 PPG, 7.3 APG, 5.4 RPG). His 167 assists are already the 11th most in a season in school history.