No. 6 Purdue tries to end two-game skid

Purdue will look to spoil former Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky’s homecoming on Thursday when the No. 6 Boilermakers visit the Badgers in Madison, Wis.

Purdue has dropped two straight Big Ten Conference games in the final three seconds of regulation, losses to then-No. 4 Michigan State (68-65) last Saturday and to then-No. 14 Ohio State (64-63).

The No. 44 jersey of Kaminsky, the 2014-15 NCAA Division I player of the year who led the Badgers to two straight NCAA Final Four appearances, will hang from the Kohl Center rafters and be honored during a halftime ceremony.

Wisconsin officials don’t retire basketball player numbers.

The Boilermakers pummeled the Badgers in a 28-point win last month at Mackey Arena. Wisconsin junior forward Ethan Happ was the only Badgers player in double-digit scoring, with 15 points and the Badgers committed a season-high 20 turnovers.

Purdue coach Matt Painter said containing Happ will be a priority for the Boilermakers (23-4, 12-2), who had their eight-game road winning streak snapped at Michigan State.

Painter said putting together a complete game has been tough for Wisconsin, and Purdue needs to disrupt any Badgers’ consistency.

“Piecing together that 40 minutes, that’s what you don’t want to happen,” Painter said. “You want to be able to get out there and limit them with what they’re doing but also be aggressive on the offensive end, so they don’t put together that 40 minutes.

“(The Badgers have) had games where they’ve been good for 20 to 25 minutes.”

Purdue sophomore guard Carsen Edwards and senior forward Vincent Edwards combined for 41 points in the first meeting between the teams on Jan. 16.

Those Purdue standouts were named to the 25-member Naismith Trophy watch list on Wednesday. Carsen Edwards leads the team in scoring at 16.9 points per game, while Vince Edwards averages 15.1 and paces the team with 7.8 rebounds per game.

Meanwhile, the Badgers (11-16, 4-10) continue their struggles. Wisconsin has lost six of its last seven games, including an 83-72 home setback to then-No. 20 Michigan four days ago.

Happ scored a season-high 29 points and matched a career high with eight assists, but the Badgers failed to get stops on defense and missed critical baskets when they pulled the scoring margin within nine and seven points in the second half.

Wisconsin freshman guard Brad Davison, who contributed 10 points against the Wolverines, said the Badgers’ sluggish starts have hurt.

The Michigan setback sealed Wisconsin’s first losing season since 1997-98.

“That’s two games in a row at home we came out flat and haven’t been as prepared as we should have been,” Davison said. “We dig ourselves in too much of a hole.”

Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said defense is crucial, but finishing on offense is equally important.

“When you put the pressure back on your defense and you have a couple mistakes and now (the Wolverines) get some confidence going, that has a snowball effect,” Gard said.

“While we were trying to make sure we try to get the wraps on it defensively, we had to be able to convert when we have the ball point-blank.”