EAST LANSING, MI - FEBRUARY  18:  Nigel Hayes #10 of the Wisconsin Badgers drives past Denzel Valentine #45 of the Michigan State Spartans in the first half at the Breslin Center on February 18, 2016 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Purdue shoots Badgers out of building in regular season finale

Mackey Arena has long been a house of horrors for the Wisconsin Badgers, and the 2015-16 regular season finale was no different as UW ran in to a hot-shooting Purdue Boilermakers team and took a 91-80 loss.

UW shot a respectable 43 percent from the field, but Purdue was red-hot and hit on 62,2 percent of its field goals en route to victory. Purdue’s 62.2 percent shooting was the best in the Matt Painter era.

Star freshman Caleb Swanigan led the way for the Boilermakers, pouring in 27 points on 6 of 7 shooting. He was one of four Purdue players in double figures, as P.J. Thompson (22), A.J. Hammons (16) and Vince Edwards (11) joined Swanigan in the hot-shooting party.

Thompson was a highlight reel from deep, coming in averaging just over two made three-pointers per game. On Sunday, he hit 6 of 8 from beyond the arc and made a huge difference in Purdue’s ability to come back from a first half deficit.

Wisconsin tried to counter a team full of streaking shooters with its own great individual effort. Junior Nigel Hayes poured in a game-high 30 points, but just didn’t get the same kind of help.

He was joined in double figures by Ethan Happ (14) and Zack Showalter (13), but there was little help from anyone else on the offensive or defensive ends of the court.

The first half saw Happ look very promising, as he was in double figures before the half was even close to over. However, all the work inside on both ends of the court and foul trouble. After going just 1-8 and laying an egg in the Big Ten opener, Happ started 3-4 from the field in this one.

Unfortunately, the hot start began to cool way off as the game wore on and Happ wore down due to defensive duties against a pair of 7-footers. He would go on to finish the game just 5-10 from the field.

Defensively, Happ and the rest of the Badgers had major trouble with the Purdue big men. Hammons and Isaac Haas combined to shoot 10 of 13 from the field, and Purdue led on points in the paint (28-22).

UW’s struggles inside also meant too much help coming and Purdue took advantage of that with clutch shooting from beyond the arc. As a team, Purdue was 10 of 19 from three-point range.

Despite all of that, Wisconsin actually looked like the team destined for victory for much of the first half.

Wisconsin led by as many as eight points, at 29-21, on one of 13 made triples for UW. However, it was all down hill for the Badgers after that, as Purdue would go on a 13-2 run to take a 34-31 lead with 4:39 to play in the first half.

After tying the game up at 34 with another triple from Vitto Brown, the Badgers never sniffed another chance to lead the game. It was 45-39 Purdue at the half.

The intermission did little to steam the tide of the Boilermakers hot shooting night, as Purdue came out even hotter to star the second half and stretched its lead to 50-39 in less than two minutes of the second stanza.

Wisconsin’s once hot shooting became ice cold to start the half and did as much damage as anything Purdue was doing on the offensive end of the court. After shooting 57.1 percent from the field in the first half, UW cooled off to the tune of just 31.3 percent shooting in the second half.

It all added up to a Purdue team that was able to take and maintain control of this game from the start of the second half. The Boilermakers eventually led by as many as 15 points with 9:27 to play.

UW got the lead under double digits twice in the second half, but as quickly as it happened it was put right back to double digits on a pair of triples from the Boilermakers.

Up next will be the Big Ten tournament, where the Badgers will be the No. 6 seed and take on the winner of the Rutgers-Nebraska matchup on Thursday at approximately 8p.m. CT on ESPN2.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com

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