Life on the road
More: Wrap VideoClick Stats: Purdue-WisconsinHere to view this Link. | Post-game blogClick Stats: Purdue-WisconsinHere to view this Link.
MADISON, Wis. - Well, that's life.
On the road, that is.
That was Purdue's universal message Wednesday night after a commendable effort fell short on the home floor of the nation's fourth-ranked team. Wisconsin shook the Boilermakers off in the second half and won 62-55, a final margin that belied the competitiveness of the visiting team's upset bid.
Purdue (10-6, 2-1 Big Ten) was outscored at the foul line, 25-3. The Badgers attempted 31 free throws, 24 more than the Boilermakers, who scored 38 of their points in the paint.
"The game was won and lost at the free throw line," Coach Matt Painter said. "We had to be able to get to the free throw line and we didn't. … I don't think we did a very good job adjusting to how (the game) was called.
"That's life on the road. Hopefully next time it happens, they adjust."
After the game, Purdue wasn't complaining about the officiating - though Painter had some continued concerns over the handling of Isaac Haas, specifically a flagrant foul that he felt contradicted a no-call against Wisconsin - so much as it was taking itself to task for fouling so much.
"I just feel like we have to do a better job breaking down and moving our feet," said forward Vince Edwards, the centerpiece of the chess game Purdue played in guarding All-America-caliber big man Frank Kaminsky, primarily defending the 7-footer, who scored 11 of his 21 at the foul line. "It's life on the road. We have to handle adversity, we have to handle the crowd, we have to handle everything. It's life on the road. We have to handle everything better."
Asked about the frustration that came with the foul disparity, Edwards smirked.
"Like I said, it's life on the road," Edwards said. "There's nothing you can do about it. Like Coach Paint said, it's life on the road."
Purdue (24) was called for twice as many fouls as Wisconsin.
Kendall Stephens played just 12 minutes because of fouls and a few early ones on surging point guard Jon Octeus, who scored a season-high 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting (to go along with a game-high eight rebounds), may have kept him from playing all 40 minutes.
"It's a road game. You can't expect anything," Octeus said of the foul differential. "Whatever happened, we should have expected it. We're away from home, out of our comfort zone. We have to take that out of our mind and keep playing. That's how it's going to be on the road, no matter where we play."
Despite the disadvantage Purdue was in from a fouls perspective, it would have led at halftime had it not been for A.J. Hammons fouling on a defensive rebound in the final second of the first half, giving Wisconsin the two easy points it needed to enter the locker room up 28-27.
Purdue led most of the first half. It never led in the second half, but didn't fall behind by more than two possessions until nearly the three-minute mark of the second half, time and again clawing back into the game every time it looked like the Badgers might separate themselves.
"We had a lot of fight in us," said Haas, who joined fellow center A.J. Hammons in scoring 11 points. "I had that feeling the whole game like, 'We're gonna pull this off.' We did a lot of things right, then some small things wrong that ended up being buckets and fouls."
With less than five-and-a-half minutes to play, Haas' bucket brought Purdue within just two.
But at 4:43, Rapheal Davis forced a mid-range jump shot - an open jump shot, but not a good decision - and Haas fouled on the rebound. Nigel Hayes made both free throws, then Wisconsin pushed it to six off a Purdue turnover.
From there, the Boilermakers got no closer than five in a game in which they outshot (51 percent to 43.6) and outrebounded (26-21) one of college basketball's elite teams on its home floor.
"I felt like they gave us a chance to win and we just didn't take it," Edwards said. "We have to be more disciplined … but this game right here shows how good we can be as a team."
GoldandBlack.com Mobile for your AndroidClick GoldandBlack.com Mobile for your iPhoneClick Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2015. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing or using editorial or graphical content, in whole or in part, without permission, is strictly prohibited. E-mail GoldandBlack.com/Boilers, Inc.Here to view this Link. | Here to view this Link.