MICHAEL MAROT, AP Sports Writer
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Caleb Swanigan and No. 20 Purdue beat No. 13 Wisconsin at its own game Sunday.
The Boilermakers played better defense, were more efficient on offense and even bested the Badgers above the rim.
Swanigan scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, but it was Purdue’s disciplined defenders that finally created an obstacle the Badgers couldn’t overcome in a 66-55 victory. Wisconsin had won nine straight.
“We felt we could play really good defense against them because of the way we matched up with them,” Swanigan said. “We wanted them to shoot over our size all night.”
The Boilermakers (14-3, 3-1) certainly made it difficult on the Badgers, holding them 39.0 percent shooting and a dismal 2 of 14 on 3-pointers. The 3s made and percentage were season lows.
Plus, Purdue had a 34-22 rebounding edge against one of the nation’s best in that category.
To coach Matt Painter, the numbers looked picture perfect.
The Boilermakers have won nine of 10 and three straight in the series — matching the school’s longest winning streak against the Badgers (13-3, 2-1) in eight years. For now, it also puts them on top of the conference standings.
Ethan Happ had 17 points and five rebounds for Wisconsin and Nigel Hayes added 10, but without more help they couldn’t keep the score close.
“We knew Happ and Hayes were guys who were going to get lots of opportunities,” Painter said. “We just tried to keep them in front, to the best of our ability, and make them score in front of us.
And the gritty Boilermakers had an answer for everything.
After Wisconsin made its first five shots to start the second half, closing to 40-36 with 14:35 left, it had a chance to cut the lead to two with an open layup from D’Mitrik Trice.
Instead, the ball rolled off the rim, Alex Illikainen committed a foul and the Boilermakers responded with 12 straight points to make it 52-36 with 10:16 to play. The Badgers didn’t get closer than 11 the rest of the way.
“You have to make shots against a team like this. Historically, that’s been our key,” Badgers coach Greg Gard said. “Especially against a team that has that much presence inside, you have to be able to counter from the perimeter.”
Wisconsin: At some point, the Badgers were bound to stumble and it finally happened in a venue where they have only won three times in school history. If they do slid e in the new poll, the Badgers shouldn’t go far after finishing the week 1-1 with road games against two Top 25 foes.
Purdue: The Boilermakers expected to contend for a conference title and this win proves they should be in the mix in March — especially if they keep winning at Mackey Arena. And with trips to Iowa, Michigan State and Nebraska and home dates against Illinois, Penn State and Northwestern next up, the Boilermakers have a chance to pull ahead of the pack.
Isaac Haas scored 13 points for the Boilermakers, whose streak of nine straight games of scoring 75 or more points came to an end.
Wisconsin’s winning streak was tied with SMU for the eighth-longest in the nation, but the Badgers bench was outscored 22-12. Wisconsin is 2-3 this season against ranked teams and 7-7 against Top 25 foes since Gard replaced Bo Ryan as coach last season.
After beating No. 25 Indiana on Monday, the Badgers had a chance to pull off a rare double by beating the Big Ten’s two Indiana school in back-to-back road games. The last time it happened was 1956 when Illinois pulled off the feat.
Wisconsin: After a week on the road, the Badgers return home Thursday to host Ohio State.
Purdue: Can pick up their third series win of the season at Iowa on Thursday.
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