Another One Bites the Dust

Despite holding a lead late in waning minutes, Wisconsin allows the Boilermakers to overtake them down the stretch, sending the Badgers to their fifth straight loss with a heart-breaking 64-63 defeat.

MADISON - The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team has been in this situation quite a bit lately – being so close down at the end with a chance to win.

The Badgers have also experienced the same outcome quite a bit lately.

Wisconsin (12-8 overall, 3-5 Big Ten) lost to No. 16 Purdue (16-4, 5-2) 64-63 on Tuesday night, its fifth game in a row – the first time since 1998 and the first time in UW head coach's career since his first season at UW-Platteville in 1984-85.

Aided by a career-high 21 points from Keaton Nankivil, the Badgers were able to gain a lead as large as five points midway through the second half. Nankivil was on fire, shooting a perfect 5-of-5 from 3-point range and had the sold-out Kohl Center crowd of 17,230 wondering, ‘How could Wisconsin possibly lose this one?' late in the game.

Well, as has been the case as of late, Wisconsin found a way.

After Wisconsin grabbed a five point lead with 4:46 to play, Purdue rallied and went on an 11-2 run to put the Badgers in the all-too-familiar position of having to make a play in the closing seconds.

Robbie Hummel hit a go-ahead three-pointer to give the Boilermakers the lead and E'Twaun Moore scored 17 points to lead Purdue.

Down 62-60, the Badgers had that chance after Chris Kramer missed a one-and-one free throw with 22 seconds remaining. Ryan called a timeout to set up Wisconsin's play to either take the lead or tie it up and hope for overtime.

However, the Badgers were unable to find a look, forcing Jordan Taylor to drive to the basket and try to make a play. Taylor missed a tough lay-up and JaJuan Johnson grabbed the rebound before he was fouled.

"We got to the rim, that was what we were trying to do," Ryan said. "If they shut that out, we sent shooters to spots and we sealed the opposite block – that's what we were looking to do."

Added Taylor: "We were just trying to make a play and the shot was there. I thought I had a good look, it just did not fall for me."

Johnson calmly hit his free throws to ice the game and Trevon Hughes hit a meaningless three-pointer in the final second to send UW spiraling into the largest losing streak this team has experienced.

Wisconsin certainly had its looks. But just like the Illinois loss on Saturday, it was just a matter of connecting as the Badgers shot 43.1 percent from the field. Conversely, Wisconsin also had issues defending its opponent once again, as Purdue shot 59.5 percent from the floor.

"They did a great job down the stretch," said Trevon Hughes, who scored 15 points and had five assists. " … It is frustrating, because we are always there and we just cannot end up on the left-hand side."

The losing streak even has some of the Grateful Red concerned about Wisconsin's NCAA tournament chances. With a losing conference record and without many big wins on its resume, the Badgers don't have much time to turn things around.

However, with eight games remaining in the regular season, the Badgers are confident they'll get back on track. And after all, the Badgers still have an RPI of 22, according to, and a strength of schedule that ranks second in the nation.

"Right now, the focal point is turning this thing around. I can't remember the last time a Wisconsin team lost five in a row," said Taylor, who has seen an increase of playing time during the Badgers' losing streak. " … I'm just trying to do whatever I can to get this turned around and get an NCAA bid and then make some noise in the tournament once we get there."

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