Wisconsin star guard Johnny Davis took his standout sophomore season to heroic heights on Monday night as he led the No. 23 Badgers to a 74-69 win at No. 3 Purdue. Davis scored a career-high 37 points, including 27 in the second half, and added 14 rebounds as Wisconsin, a 12.5-point underdog at Caesars Sportsbook, handed the Boilermakers, a No. 1 seed in Jerry Palm’s Bracketology, their second loss of the season.
Purdue (12-2, 1-2 Big Ten) led 49-42 with 11:12 remaining but had no answer for Davis, who hit a 3-pointer with 1:53 remaining to put Wisconsin (11-2, 2-1) ahead 68-63. He followed that up with a dagger jump shot at the 1:01 mark to extend Purdue’s lead to seven and then put the exclamation mark on the victory with a dunk in the final 10 seconds.
Davis entered third in the conference in scoring at 20.8 points per game, having reached double figures in every game for the Badgers. But this was just his second time reaching the 30-point plateau. Davis’ emergence as a star has been well-timed for the Badgers, who lost four of five starters from last season’s 18-13 team that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. His outlandish scoring numbers are made all the more impressive by the fact that Wisconsin plays at a slow pace.
As for Purdue, the Boilermakers are off to a sluggish start in league play and have questions to answer defensively after forcing just seven turnovers and showing once again that they don’t have a true lockdown perimeter defender. Zach Edey led the Boilermakers with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Brad Davison added 15 for the Badgers.