Kaminsky scores 21 as No. 4 Wisconsin beats Purdue 62-55
MADISON, Wis. (AP) Fourth-ranked Wisconsin was outshot and outrebounded, but used an overwhelming advantage from the free throw line to grind out a 62-55 victory over Purdue, the Badgers' toughest nemesis since coach Bo Ryan took over in Madison.
Frank Kaminsky scored 21 points Wednesday night and the Badgers (15-1, 3-0 Big Ten) pulled away from a 45-all tie with a 9-2 run to open a 54-47 lead on Josh Gasser's free throw with 3:19 left.
Wisconsin, which has won eight straight since an 80-70 loss at home to Duke in early December, maintained a two-possession lead the rest of the way to prevent the Boilermakers from becoming the first Big Ten opponent to win four games at the Kohl Center.
''It was good to grind out a win like this, low-scoring,'' Gasser said. ''We had to fight the adversity, stay mentally tough. That's what we needed.''
The Badgers, coming off their first consecutive games of scoring 80 or more points in Big Ten play since 1992, offset a 43.6 percent shooting night by making 25 of 31 free throws, including 15 in the final 9:11.
''It's obvious that we got more free throws, but in order to get those free throws and get to the free throw line, we had to do certain things,'' said Ryan, whose teams are 99-14 at home in Big Ten play. ''But that was part of our game plan, too. Plus, a lot of those came when they had to foul at the end. I would say six or eight of them, at least.''
Purdue, which was called for 24 fouls to 12 for Wisconsin, went to the free throw line seven times, making three. The Boilermakers averaged 28 free throws in their first two conference games.
''The game was won and lost on the free throw line,'' Purdue coach Matt Painter said. ''We had to be able to get to the free throw line and we didn't. And they were able to get there.''
Gasser had 15 points for Wisconsin, which shot 3 of 14 on 3-pointers.
''I don't think we jacked any bad ones, it's just the ball wasn't finding the net,'' Ryan said. ''But, if we can still play like that on defense and make teams work and try to get them out of some kind of comfort zone - and there wasn't much of that in the game for either team - to come out with a win, that's a gutty performance by our guys.''
Jon Octeus had 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds for Purdue (10-6, 2-1), which shot 51 percent from the field. A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas added 11 points apiece.
Kendall Stephens, who entered as Purdue's leading scorer at 11 points per game, was limited to 12 minutes by foul trouble.
''That was a big loss for us,'' Painter said. ''He's got to be able to adjust with those calls. But he was hand-checking those guys and those were good calls. But we didn't have the level of a shooter that can stretch the defense that's made big shots before.''
Wisconsin, which made a season-high 12 3-pointers and shot 52.6 percent from the field in Sunday's 81-58 rout of Northwestern, struggled with its shooting in the first half. The Badgers went 9 of 24 for 37.5 percent, including 2 of 11 from beyond the arc.
Wisconsin, however, had a 10-0 advantage in points off turnovers en route to a 28-27 lead at the break.
Purdue, whose 55 points were a season low, entered 10-10 against the Badgers under Ryan, the only Big Ten team against which he did not have a winning record.
''This would have been one to be a fan,'' Ryan said. ''To see two teams going at each other like this. And, whoever said basketball had to be pretty? Nobody. It was a grind and I think there's going to be more of those in the league this year, too.''
Purdue: The Boilermakers were looking for their second 3-0 start in Big Ten play under Painter.
Wisconsin: Junior forward Sam Dekker became the 17th Badgers player to top the 1,000-point mark in three seasons - and 39th overall - when he slammed home a one-handed rebound of Gasser's missed 3-pointer with 4:55 left in the first half. Kaminsky needs four points to reach 1,000.
Former Wisconsin player John Brady, who scored one career point, was recognized on his 92nd birthday during a timeout in the second half. Then-Badgers coach Bud Foster put Brady in against Minnesota in his final game on Feb. 25, 1944, before Brady left to serve in the Navy during World War II.
BO'S BIG TEN MILESTONE
Ryan won his 159th Big Ten game, surpassing Walter ''Doc'' Meanwell for the most conference victories by a Badgers coach. ''He's an interesting guy. He could have done a lot more than coaching,'' Ryan said. ''As I've said 100 times - to be mentioned in that same sentence is exciting.''
It was just the 11th time under Painter that Purdue has lost when shooting 48 percent or better, compared with 80 victories.
Purdue hosts Maryland on Saturday.
Wisconsin plays at Rutgers on Sunday.