MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A.J. Hammons scored 24 points, Dakota Mathias hit two 3s in the final 1:19 and No. 14 Purdue held on for a 61-55 victory over Wisconsin on Tuesday night.
The Boilermakers (13-1, 1-0 Big Ten) snapped a four-game losing streak to the Badgers (8-6, 0-1), who lost their first conference game under interim coach Greg Gard.
But Purdue needed the two late 3s by Mathias after Wisconsin had narrowed an 11-point deficit to 52-49 with 1:40 left on a short jumper by Alex Illikainen.
Purdue opened its 11-point lead gradually behind the 7-foot Hammons. He was 9 of 14 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds.
Mathias finished with six points.
Nigel Hayes led Wisconsin with 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting. But Wisconsin shot just 39 percent for the night.
Purdue had a sloppy start with 10 first-half turnovers. Hammons, a senior, took charge late with 15 second-half points.
He gave them their largest lead with 5:56 left when a jumper made it 48-37.
Hammons drew extra attention when he didn’t have the ball and forced Wisconsin’s big men to alter their shots on the other end of the court.
The Badgers had just seven turnovers for the game after having 26 last week against Green Bay in Gard’s debut as the retired Bo Ryan’s interim replacement.
But they’re still very much in transition, especially with Gard implementing more of a swing offense, which allows for more ball movement and cutting.
Against Purdue, Wisconsin had trouble getting good looks before the end of the 30-second shot clock.
The Badgers did have a breakthrough game out of Illikainen, a 6-9 freshman playing more under Gard. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting.
Purdue: The Boilermakers last beat the Badgers 69-56 on March 3, 2013. … Entering Tuesday, Purdue was 5-1 in Big Ten openers since 2009-10.
Wisconsin: The Badgers faced a height disadvantage against Purdue with no starter taller than 6-9 Ethan Happ, though Hayes and fellow forward Vitto Brown are both 6-8. Wisconsin was outrebounded for the first time this season, 36-26.