Men's Hoops Rip Wisconsin

Badgers no contest for no. 10 Purdue

Jan. 31, 1998

By HANK LOWENKRON
AP Sports Writer

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Another Wisconsin visit. Another Purdue victory in a streak that is longer than the lives of any player on either team.

Alan Eldridge hit a career-high five 3-pointers and Chad Austin had 21 of his 24 points in the second half as No. 10 Purdue defeated Wisconsin 82-59 Saturday night.

"We have one matchup problem every game and that's with (Sean) Mason," Wisconsin coach Dick Bennett said. "Eldridge simply just spotted up and beat him, stepped up and hit some shots over him. That was very damaging."

It was Purdue's 25th consecutive triumph over the Badgers at Mackey Arena, a streak that dates back to 1972.

Purdue (19-4, 7-2 Big Ten) pulled away with 13-2 run that began in the final 36 seconds of the first half with Wisconsin trailing 29-28.

The loss was the fourth straight for Wisconsin (10-11, 3-6), its longest skid in Bennett's 81-game era.

"We got demoralized in the second half," Bennett said. "We became more passive, started chocking the ball up a lot."

Wisconsin, which hadn't shot better that 34 percent in losing its three previous games, shot 52 percent in the opening half and battled the Boilermakers on almost even terms for the entire period.

But the Badgers faded in the second half and hit just 13 of 37 shots in the second half.

Eldridge had never made more than three 3-pointers in a game, but he hit four in the first half. His third broke the game's final tie, giving the Boilermakers a 20-17 lead. Wisconsin trailed 29-28 when Hennssy Auriantal sank two free throws with 1:12 left in the first half.

"He hit that shot at the end of the first half to give us momentum. That was a big turnaround," Purdue coach Gene Keady said.

Jaraan Cornell and Eldridge capped the first half by making consecutive 3-pointers in the final 39 seconds. Austin then hit a jumper and two free throws as Purdue opened a 42-30 lead.

Sean Daugherty, who led the Badgers with 16 points, had his team's only field goals in the first five minutes of the second half. The Boilermakers pulled away to lead 61-40 by hitting 10 consecutive free throws midway in the half and built it to 76-50 before clearing its bench with two minutes to play.

"They played a real good first half. I hit that shot at the end and Jaraan hit a shot. I think it wasn't necessarily a dagger, but I think it hurt them a little bit emotionally," said Eldridge, who finished with 15 points. "In the second half we came out and picked up the intensity a little bit."

Mason was the only other Wisconsin player in double figures with 15.

"I came out and shot well," Eldridge said. "I had a lot of open looks and I shot the ball in rhythm. It felt pretty good."

Purdue hit 10 of 19 shots from behind the 3-point line and helped itself by hitting 22 of 24 free throws.

"The kids showed me signs they would be a pretty good free throw shooting team. Sure enough it worked out ... and (we) make it a big part of the game," Keady said. "We are on the line a lot because we're dribble driving, moving the ball and getting it inside."

The victory kept Purdue in a tie with Illinois for second place in the Big Ten, one game behind Michigan State which maintained sole possession of the lead by beating Northwestern in overtime Saturday night.