Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis put on a show Monday night as the 23rd-ranked Badgers went into West Lafayette and earned a 74-69 win over No. 3 Purdue.
Player of the Game: Johnny Davis
The early season buzz for the Wisconsin sophomore was well deserved but there will be even more praise coming his way after Monday night. Facing another potential NBA lottery pick in Purdue’s Jaden Ivey, Davis blew him out of the water in the Badgers upset victory. He dropped a career-high 37 points and 14 rebounds, while also dishing out three assists and coming up with a pair of blocks. The guard was at his best after halftime, scoring 27 points and grabbing eight rebounds as he put the Badgers on his back down the stretch.
Davis became just the third Wisconsin player to score 37 or more points in a road game and the first to do it against a top-5 team. He finished the game off with an emphatic dunk in the final seconds to give Wisconsin its signature win to this point in the season.
The good: The fight
Mackey Arena has been a house of horrors for Wisconsin basketball over the years. Take away the Badgers win in the NCAA Tournament last March and they had won four games there since the building opened in 1967. It looked like it might be going that way again as Purdue had turned a 5-point halftime deficit into a 7-point lead with 11:12 left. But like coach Greg Gard’s team has done many times already this season, the Badgers fought back. Chris Vogt gave them a 3-point play, followed by driving layups from Davis and Chucky Hepburn and then a 3-pointer from Davis to take the lead.
With teams in the past, maybe Wisconsin fades away with the thought it had done its best. Not this group. Not with the passion they have showed all year, especially from their leaders in Davis and senior Brad Davison.
Purdue’s big men are a load to deal with. The combination of the 7-foor-4 Zach Edey and 6-foot-10 Trevion Williams are going to be tough for anyone to matchup with and that was certainly the case for Wisconsin. The Badgers trio of Vogt, Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl used all 15 of their fouls and found themselves on the bench for the final minutes of the game.
Despite the fouls, Wisconsin actually did a better-than-expected job in the paint against the Boilermakers. The home team had to settle for just 28 points in the paint and 12 second-chance points, numbers the Badgers matched on the other end of the floor.
Stat of the Game: 13
That is how many points Purdue was favored by, marking the 12th time Wisconsin had been an underdog of 13 or more points since at least 1995. Monday night was the first time they won when facing that situation.
— Wisconsin won despite shooting just 25% from 3. It was the seventh time in 13 games that the Badgers have been under 30% from beyond the arc.
— Brad Davison scored eight of his 15 points in the final five minutes of the game, including two huge 3-pointers.
— Wisconsin had its entire team available for the first time since Dec. 4 against Marquette. Multiple players had missed time over the last month due to either a positive COVID-19 test or an illness that swept through the team.
Wisconsin (11-2, 2-1) will return to the Kohl Center to face Iowa (11-3, 1-2) on Thursday.