Lately, Purdue hasn’t been demonstrating the same toughness on the road as it has at home.
The No. 11 Boilermakers will try to snap a three-game road losing streak Tuesday night when they visit No. 19 Wisconsin, which is undefeated at the Kohl Center.
Purdue (18-4, 7-2 Big Ten) needs a win at Wisconsin (15-5, 5-3) to stay within striking distance of undefeated Ohio State in the conference race.
The Boilermakers split a pair of games last week, suffering a 23-point drubbing by the top-ranked Buckeyes in Columbus on Tuesday before bouncing back with a 73-61 home win against then-No. 16 Minnesota on Saturday.
JaJuan Johnson scored 24 points while Ryne Smith added 15 off the bench, all in the second half. Purdue, which shot only 39.3 percent in the first half while taking a three-point lead into the break, came out strong in the second half, shooting 7 of 11 from 3-point range.
“Anytime you lose a game like that, or a game in general, it sits with you for a while and you want to erase that feeling as quick as possible,” Johnson said. “We let one go against Ohio State, but we didn’t want to let this one go.”
Purdue plays two of its next three on the road, where it has lost three straight. The Boilermakers have averaged 65.0 points in their last three road games - down from the 78.9 points they average at home. They have also been outrebounded in the last two road games by a combined 22 boards.
Johnson will look to stay hot and help Purdue end its road skid Tuesday. The senior and Big Ten scoring leader has scored at least 20 points in six straight games, although he’s combined for 14 points in his two starts at the Kohl Center.
Purdue guard E’Twaun Moore, meanwhile, has averaged 17.3 points on 71.0 percent shooting in three games in Madison, helping the Boilermakers to two victories.
Wisconsin returns home after playing its last two on the road. After a 32-point victory at Northwestern on Jan. 23, the Badgers fell 56-52 at Penn State on Saturday, blowing a 13-point first-half lead.
Wisconsin, which had won its previous three, led by nine at the break, but after the Nittany Lions went up 43-42, the Badgers trailed the rest of the way.
Jordan Taylor scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half while Jon Leuer scored 18 points, but shot 3 of 9 after the break.
After making 12 3-pointers against the Wildcats, Wisconsin went just 6 of 20 from beyond the arc Saturday, including 3 of 14 in the second half.
“We hit a little bit of a cold spell on these shots right here and every guy in that locker room knows that we have to hit a couple of those,” coach Bo Ryan said. “It was just one of those days.”
The Badgers have looked more comfortable at home, winning 32 of their last 33 there - including all 11 this season. Opponents in 2010-11 are averaging 55.0 points and shooting 38.7 percent at the Kohl Center.
Wisconsin and Purdue split their two meetings last season with each team winning at home. Before last year’s 73-66 loss at the Kohl Center, however, the Boilermakers had won two straight there.
“This is a big one just because the physicality of this game is going to be huge,” Purdue sophomore D.J. Byrd said. “We have to play as tough as we can.”