Purdue was sitting atop the Big Ten standings with an undefeated record before a visit to Wisconsin earlier this month began a difficult slide.
Having since recovered, the 10th-ranked Boilermakers look for a measure of revenge on Thursday night when they try to continue their dominance over the 16th-ranked Badgers at Mackey Arena.
Purdue (16-3, 4-3) was 14-0 and ranked fourth in the AP poll when it entered Madison on Jan. 9 looking to set a school record for consecutive wins to start the season. Instead, the team lost 73-66 to the Badgers (16-4, 6-2), then dropped its next two as well.
The Boilermakers have responded to the slump with consecutive victories, defeating Illinois on the road and then recording a 69-59 win against Michigan on Saturday. They’ll look to continue their resurgence as they try to improve on a 35-2 home record against Wisconsin.
Purdue, which is giving up 62.6 points per game this season, had one of its better defensive games against the Wolverines, holding an opponent below 70 points for the first time in five games. JaJuan Johnson scored 21 points and E’Twaun Moore added 19 points, six assists and three steals.
Johnson, who is averaging 14.2 points, has scored 22.5 per game in his last two contests after totaling 18 points during the three-game skid.
“We talked … about JaJuan Johnson getting the basketball more and really that being a two way street,” said coach Matt Painter, who would become the sixth Purdue coach to reach 100 victories with a win Thursday. “He can say all day ‘they’re not getting the ball to me,’ and they can say he’s not open, but you have got to work together to get him the basketball.”
Johnson scored seven points against the Badgers earlier this month, but he had 20 points and 10 rebounds in Purdue’s last home game against Wisconsin.
Purdue has won three in a row at home against Wisconsin, which has been held to 56.7 points per game and 38.0 percent shooting in those trips to West Lafayette.
The Badgers could be in for another rough offensive night at Mackey Arena if they get off to another slow start. They have won four of their last five but have averaged 21.7 points in the first half of the last three contests.
Wisconsin trailed 33-25 going into the break against Penn State on Sunday before rallying for a 79-71 overtime win. The Badgers came back from an eight-point deficit in the final two minutes of regulation, led by Jordan Taylor, who added 10 points in overtime and finished with 20.
Taylor, who joined the starting lineup after Jon Leuer broke his wrist in the win over Purdue, scored eight points in the previous two games and was coming off an 0-for-7 shooting performance against Michigan.
Wisconsin was 10 of 33 from 3-point range in the win and is shooting 26.5 percent beyond the arc over the last six contests. But the Badgers are confident they will eventually snap out of the slump.
“It’s good we have players who have confidence and grit to keep shooting the ball knowing the percentages play in our favor,” guard Jason Bohannon said. “We’re a good shooting team. Just because the numbers don’t show it, that doesn’t mean anything about it.”
Wisconsin last won both regular season meetings with Purdue in 2004-05.
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