Butch Can't Carry Badgers

Despite 20 points from senior Brian Butch, the Badgers struggle offensively and can't escape West Lafayette without suffering their first conference loss of the season, falling to Purdue, 60-56, Saturday.

Despite a game-high 20 points from senior Brian Butch, No.11 Wisconsin got little help offensively from anyone else and struggled to keep pace with the youthful Boilermakers.

In the end, Wisconsin had the ball with a chance to tie in the waning seconds, but it was not meant to be, as the Badgers dropped their first conference game of the year to host Purdue, 60-56, Saturday afternoon.

Scoring 14 of his 20 points after halftime, Butch went 7-of-10 from the field, 4-for-7 at the line and hauled in 13 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season.

Other than Butch, Wisconsin had trouble finding the bottom of the net. Excluding Butch's shooting, the Badgers shot 13-for-42 (30.9 percent) from the field.

The Badgers were also outscored 13-7 in bench points, with Jason Bohannon's six free throws being the only major contribution.

Wisconsin struggled out of the gates adjusting to the boisterous environment, registering six turnovers – including two offensive fouls – in the game's first seven minutes.

Even though the Boilermakers built a 12-4 lead, Wisconsin chipped away at the lead by getting the ball into Butch in post, who was a perfect 3-for-3 in the first half.

But after Purdue sophomore Keaton Grant nailed back-to-back three pointers within 41 seconds of each other, turning a 23-23 tie into a six-point Purdue advantage, Wisconsin looked to have a tough hill to climb in the second half.

However, a key sequence of events helped the Badgers steal the momentum back heading into the locker. With the Boilermakers holding the ball for a last second shot, Grant, trying to get separation heading to the perimeter, was called for an offensive foul that gave the ball back to Wisconsin with 8.2 seconds left.

Taking the ball the length of the floor himself, sophomore Trevon Hughes launched a 27-footer with 1.3 seconds left that rattled home, giving him nine first-half points and, more importantly, cut the deficit in half.

Unfortunately for the Badgers, Hughes disappeared in the second half, scoring only two points on 1-or-4 shooting.

UW shot 42.3 percent for the half and had nine turnovers, controlling the ball better during the half's last 13 minutes. Purdue shot 35.5 percent from the field and had only six turnovers, but had its lead based on the four three-pointers the Boilermakers hit in the first 20 minutes.

Wisconsin continued to use its new-found momentum to begin the second half, going on a 5-0 run to give UW its first lead since the score was 4-2 just three minutes into the game. Combine that with Butch nailing only his third three-point bucket of the season (on his 33rd attempt) and the Badgers looked to be in control.

But with Wisconsin up two, Butch picked up three fouls in two minutes, including two on one possession, which forced the senior to go to the bench for four minutes. Although missing its first six shots without Butch in the paint, Purdue found its shooting touch and fired off an 7-1 run to make the score 47-41.

Once back on the floor, Butch continued to carry the Badgers by his lonesome. He ended Wisconsin's seven minute field-goal drought with his second three-pointer and scored seven-straight points to cut the Purdue lead to four.

Purdue maintained its lead, however, leading 58-54 entering the final minute. But good ball movement by Jason Bohannon, drawing three defenders as he drove to the basket, found a wide-open Marcus Landry for the easy bucket and a two-point deficit with 48 seconds left.

Wisconsin got a second life with Purdue was cheated when his running jump shot rolled halfway down the bucket before spinning out into the hands of Brian Butch.

With a chance to send the game to overtime, Michael Flowers, who was the hero at Texas, was denied when Purdue freshman Robbie Hummel blocked Flowers' acrobatic double-pump shot with five seconds left. Making both his free throws, Hummel sealed Purdue's victory.

With the loss, Wisconsin moves into a three-way tie for second place in the Big Ten with the Boilermakers and Michigan State.

The Badgers will have a chance to move back into first place when they host conference leader Indiana, who lost at home to Connecticut, on Thursday.


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