When you let up just a little from an intensity standpoint or you fail to play your best basketball in the parity-filled world of college hoops, what you get is the following.
The Boilermakers haven’t had a typical year, but they aren’t the worst team in the world either.
And in one of the toughest college basketball environments in the country, the Boilermakers came up big with a huge win inside the Kohl Center in Madison.
One of the keys to success against Wisconsin is being able to match the defensive effort the Badgers are going to bring to the gym, and the Boilermakers did just that.
“‘I thought our guys did a good job taking them out of rhythm, and when they had a couple that were open, I thought they rushed them a little bit,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said in a post-game press conference. ”Sometimes that happens when you fight to get an open one.”
D.J. Byrd played one of his better games of the year, dropping in 22 points, including nine in the second half, and Terone Johnson poured in 16 points as Purdue used a momentum-swinging 21-3 run that to lift them to their first win at Wisconsin since 2009.
The Boilermakers trailed by 13 at one point in the first half, but they didn’t wilt under the pressure or flip the switch to panic mode.
”We kept battling back,” Painter said in a post-game press conference. ”For this team, it’s only happened one time all year. It’s a real tribute to our guys just staying with it this time of year.”
And because Purdue brought its best effort, it found a way to win a big game on the road.
Brian Lester is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993.