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Zach Edey has 25 points and 14 rebounds in home finale as No. 3 Purdue tops Wisconsin 78-70

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Posted at 3:48 PM, Mar 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-10 15:49:08-04

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Zach Edey had 25 points and 14 rebounds in his home finale, becoming the first Big Ten player to exceed 2,200 career points and 1,200 boards, and No. 3 Purdue beat Wisconsin 78-70 on Sunday.

Fletcher Loyer added 15 points and Braden Smith added 10 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for the Boilermakers (28-3, 17-3), who won their fifth straight overall and a second consecutive Big Ten title by at least three games.

Purdue’s seniors won their 59th conference game, matching the league record for victories over a four-year span set by Indiana from 1972-76.

John Blackwell scored 18 points for the Badgers (19-12, 11-9). Tyler Wahl had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and AJ Storr also scored 17.

Before the game, coach Matt Painter presented Smith, a second-year guard, with a ceremonial ball for breaking Purdue’s single-season assists record, which stood for nearly 50 years. Moments later, Purdue’s pep band played “O Canada” as a Senior Day tribute to the 7-foot-4 Edey, who’s from Toronto.

With Purdue ahead 17-9 midway through the first half, Edey limped gingerly to the bench with an apparent left leg injury. He finished the half on the bench because of foul trouble.

And after Loyer’s four-point play helped stake Purdue to a 40-26 lead, Smith appeared to hurt his right ankle on a non-contact play. He went to the locker room but returned 75 seconds later as the Boilermakers made it 44-33 at the half.

Edey and Loyer remained on the floor without apparent difficulty in the second half as the Badgers twice cut the deficit to four. But the Boilermakers answered with 3-pointers each time, first by Smith and then by Caleb Furst.

BIG PICTURE

Wisconsin: The Badgers head into this week’s Big Ten Tournament as the league’s mystery team. They were ranked most of the season and climbed into the top 10 before losing four straight. They’ve now lost eight of 11.

Purdue: It’s time for the Boilermakers to focus on unfinished business following last year’s stunning first-round NCAA Tournament exit. Sure, there’s a conference tourney still ahead and the possibility of reclaiming the No. 1 ranking. But Painter’s squad had one major goal this season — and that quest begins next week.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Boilermakers are all but certain to extend the longest active streak of weeks ranked in the top five to 35.

UP NEXT

Wisconsin: Awaits its opening Big Ten tournament game.

Purdue: Heads to Minneapolis with the Big Ten’s No. 1 seed, a double bye and a Friday quarterfinal game.