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Wisconsin advances over Purdue in Big Ten tourney

CHICAGO (WISH/AP) — For a half, Purdue was better than the regular season conference champs, but 6th ranked Wisconsin showed what they were made of, out hustling, out rebounding and out scoring the Boilers 41-16 after the break to cruise into the tourney title game.

“We just haven’t responded well when we lead at the half,” said coach Matt Painter. “This is the first team I can remember that plays much better trailing at the break. Don’t get me wrong. Wisconsin is really good, but we have to match our intensity and rebounding.”

The top-seeded Badgers trailed by five points at halftime, then held the Boilermakers to 24 percent shooting after the break in their fifth straight victory. Frank Kaminsky led the strong defensive effort and finished with 12 points and Nigel Hayes had 15.

The Badgers opened the second half with a 14-3 run. Kaminsky, who got off to a sluggish start, seemed to find his game by playing tough defense on Hammons, and Koenig scored five straight points to help the Badgers to a 44-38 lead with 13:51 left.

Senior guard Jon Octeus, the only Boiler to play in the NCAA tournament says his group will respond.

“We have done well after bad losses all season, and I can’t wait to see how we come out when we get the call,” said Octeus.

Purdue should be solidly in the NCAA tournament and will learn its seed and destination on selection Sunday.