Kaminsky, No. 9 Wisconsin Handle Purdue 76-70
GENARO C. ARMAS, AP Sports Writer
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Frank Kaminsky can turn a defense inside-out.
It’s not often that a 7-foot center possesses the shooting touch of a guard.
Wisconsin’s big man scored 22 points and went 4 of 5 from 3-point range, Traevon Jackson added 14 points and the ninth-ranked Badgers finished off their home schedule with a 76-70 victory over Purdue on Wednesday night.
“I get mad at him when he’s not aggressive,” Jackson, the point guard, said of Kaminsky. “Today I just said, ‘Hey, just take what they give you.'”
Josh Gasser added 13 points and went 9 of 10 from the free throw line for a typically balanced Badgers offense in their eighth straight win.
“Yeah, we have multiple guys that can have anywhere from 14 to 20 as far as points,” coach Bo Ryan said matter-of-factly. “This isn’t unusual.”
But highly annoying to opponents.
“They’ve got five guys out there who can handle, pass it and shoot it, and they really put you in a bind,” Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said.
The Badgers (25-5, 12-5 Big Ten) shot 48 percent from the field in the first half before shooing away pesky Purdue (15-15, 5-12).
While Wisconsin was never really seriously threatened, the Boilermakers at least kept it a little interesting late. A 16-point lead was whittled to 58-51 with 5 minutes left off a transition layup by Ronnie Johnson before Sam Dekker converted a three-point play about 30 seconds later to revitalize the Badgers.
Wisconsin could have made it slightly easier by hitting a few more free throws in the second half, when they went 20 of 27 from the line. Kendall Stephens of Purdue hit a 3 from the corner just before time expired for the final margin.
“The score was a little misrepresentative of the game,” Jackson said. “I thought we did a good job the entire game keeping control of it.”
Johnson had 15 points for the Boilermakers, who lost their fifth straight and fell into sole possession of last place in the conference. Purdue lost a third consecutive game to a ranked opponent after falling to No. 12 Michigan last week and No. 24 Iowa on Sunday.
Johnson was 7 of 17 from the field for Purdue, while Terone Johnson finished with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting. A.J. Hammons had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Not enough production to overcome the Badgers, even with Wisconsin’s own issues of late during the winning streak with keeping opponents in games. At least there was no repeat of last season’s final game at the Kohl Center, which was spoiled by the Boilermakers with a 69-56 victory.
On Wednesday night, guard Ben Brust went home happy after his senior ceremony. He was lifted from the game with 21 seconds left, raising an arm to acknowledge the loud roars from the appreciative crowd.
The sharpshooter gave fans one last memorable 3 after hitting straightaway from about 23 feet in front of the “Grateful Red” student section.
Not too nervous on this momentous night, Brust said.
“Really, not as bad as I thought I was going to,” he said. “I think we were all focused on getting the job done.”
Brust finished 3 of 11 from the field and 1 of 5 from long range. His long 3 made it 24-10 with 6:37 left in the first half of a game that at times took on the intensity level of a preseason exhibition.
The pace got choppy in the second half with several scrambles for loose balls and officials calling a combined 22 fouls. After starting 6 of 10 from the field, Wisconsin went 17 of 42 (40 percent) the rest of the way.
The Boilermakers did have a few decent looks that didn’t fall. They went 3 of 14 from 3-point range.
“We didn’t probe the defense and show enough patience,” Painter said. “We got the ball where we needed it to be, just didn’t finish at the rims a couple times.”
Hammons gave Purdue hope going into the locker room at halftime after converting an offensive rebound just before the buzzer to get within 35-24.
Then Terone Johnson’s layup about 30 seconds into the second half got Purdue within 38-30.
It was simply a momentary lapse for Kaminsky and the Badgers.
Kaminsky went 3 of 4 in the second half from 3-point range. It was his best shooting game from behind the arc since making six 3s on Nov. 19 against North Dakota.
Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP
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