Game Day Grades - Purdue

After taking its first conference bump Wednesday, No.17 Wisconsin rebounded, literally, with a vengeance Saturday, out muscling Purdue on the board and shutting down its offense with suffocating defense, two things that contributed to UW's 73-66 victory.

Offense: B+

The offense was inconsistent in the first half but was able to string together enough runs to pull ahead early in the second half. The game was called closely throughout the entire contest and this led to a lot of free throws for both teams. The Badgers were able to capitalize on their free throw opportunities and knock down 81.5 percent (22-27) for the game. This was crucial as Wisconsin was unable to get going down low and appeared to be bothered by Purdue center JaJuan Johnson's length on the interior. Jon Leuer especially struggled to get off uncontested shots and Johnson seemed to continually alter Leuer's patented turn-around jumper.

Furthermore, the Badgers relied on the dribble penetration and outside shooting of its fantastic guard trio of Trevon Hughes, Jason Bohannon and Jordan Taylor. The trio accounted for 57 of the Badgers 73 points and was able to exploit the Boilermakers aggressive perimeter ball pressure. Purdue applied intense ball pressure on the Badger ball handlers and Wisconsin used this to its advantage as the guards continually attacked the basket off the dribble and either drew contact or finished well in the paint. Additionally, the guard trio was able to knock down five of their 10 three-point attempts, ensuring that Purdue had to play honest defense, opening up driving lanes for the Badger guards.

Defense: A

Wisconsin played tremendous defense throughout the contest and was able to hold Purdue's star forward Robbie Hummel to 13 points on 3-of-13 shooting. The Badgers mixed and matched defenders on Hummel all game and were able to provide multiple defensive looks on the sharp shooting Hummel.

The Badgers were also able to control the defensive glass and gave up only five offensive rebounds. Controlling the defensive glass throughout the game is something Wisconsin undoubtedly has focused on since conference play started. Wisconsin was also able to contain the dribble penetration from the Purdue guards with the exception of E'Twaun Moore. If the Badgers are able to continue to keep opposing guards out of the lane and own the defensive glass, Wisconsin will prove extremely tough to beat as the conference season heats up.

Coaching: A

Bo Ryan had the Badgers ready for the No.4 ranked Purdue Boilermakers and was able to consistently make quick and sound adjustments as the fouls piled up. Substitutions and bench play became crucial as the Badgers and Boilermakers combined for 45 fouls and both coaches needed to go to their bench throughout the game. Ryan gave a vote of confidence to sophomore Rob Wilson and played him 13 minutes in the first half. Wilson rewarded Ryan and played strong throughout the half and helped compensate for the absence of Trevon Hughes, who was saddled with two fouls. Additionally, Ryan pulled the trigger on little used freshman forward Mike Bruesewitz, who responded with five big rebounds in the first half.

Overall, Ryan did a great job allowing his guards to periodically break free from the swing offense and attack the basket off the dribble. Ryan once again proved to be deft at making small and effective in-game adjustments that gave his team an opportunity to win.

Game MVP: The Backcourt of Jason Bohannon, Trevon Hughes and Jordan Taylor.

The three guards led the attack on offense and defense throughout the game, containing Purdue's guards on defense and getting into the paint on offense. Specifically, Jordan Taylor once again provided a spark off the bench and provided a trusted ball handler when Hughes was not on the court.

Additionally, with Hughes on the bench, the offense became stagnant and was out of sync. At this juncture, Taylor took it upon himself to attack the basket and initiate the offense closer to the paint. Such initiative from the sophomore guard proved vital to the Badgers staying in the game until their senior leader came back in the second.


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