Nankivil’s 3-pointers not enough at Purdue

first_imgUW guard Jordan Taylor and the Badgers weren\’t able to score on their last possession, losing a 60-57 game at Mackey Arena.[/media-credit]WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — It took a while Thursday night for the Boilermakers to heat up.Once they did, however, there seemed to be little chance Wisconsin could come back against Purdue. Until junior forward Keaton Nankivil hit a hot streak of his own.YetAs the Badgers’ troubles at Mackey Arena continued, and they lost 60-57 to the Boilermakers, who were led by a 20-point performance by junior guard E’Twaun Moore.Fittingly, with the game on the line, it was Moore who hit a game-winning floater in the lane with 25.2 seconds remaining to put Purdue on top 58-57. The Boilermakers had run the play several times already on the night, and a good read by Moore got Purdue the bucket and the game.“I just had to read JaJuan’s defender,” Moore said. “If he helped up, pass it to JaJuan (Johnson), if Rob (Hummel)’s man helped up-kick it. It just so happened that JaJuan’s man helped up, and I just made a shot.”But as head coach Bo Ryan pointed out after the game, the Badgers still had a chance.With 25.2 seconds to go, senior guard Trevon Hughes took the ball for Wisconsin’s final shot and fired from behind the arc with less than 10 seconds remaining. Unfortunately for UW, though, that shot was not close, as Hughes elbow was struck on the shot and a foul was not called.Hughes and Wisconsin caught a break just seconds later, however, when his air ball went out of bounds off a Purdue defender, giving the Badgers six seconds to score.“You’ve just got to play through it; he had a chance,” Ryan said of Hughes. “He wanted to make his free throws, too. Sometimes you don’t get to do what you’d like to do.”On the next UW possession, following a timeout, Hughes took the ball again.He penetrated as deep as he could and put the ball high off the glass. It was the type of shot Hughes has hit many times before, even in late-game situations. Thursday night, however, the senior from Queens, N.Y., put it up too hard and it bounced off the rim to Purdue.Hughes’ miss sealed the Badgers’ fate, dropping UW to 2-36 all-time at Mackey Arena.“We gave ourselves an opportunity to steal one on the road and we didn’t walk away with it,” Hughes said. “It is hard, you know, missing the last shot. They had faith in me to put the ball in my hands and I didn’t come out with it. But I promise you next time we’re in that predicament, I will.”With the way the game went in the first half, it seemed inevitable it would come down to whichever team had the ball last. Wisconsin and Purdue were tied six times before halftime and the lead changed hands four times.Neither team led by more than four in the opening period, and Purdue went to the locker room with a 27-25 lead.In that first half, Nankivil led all scorers with 11 points on 4-of-8 from the floor and 3-for-4 from beyond the arc. With the way the Badgers’ guards dominated the Boilermakers on Jan. 9, in Madison, Purdue upped its pressure on Hughes and sophomore Jordan Taylor, which left Nankivil open several times on the perimeter.“We knew how they were going to play the ball screens a little more aggressively,” Nankivil said. “Almost doubled Pop (Hughes) and Jordan at times and they weren’t laying off J-Bo (Jason Bohannon) at all.“Up to this point, I haven’t really proven myself to be able to shoot, so their game plan was, you know, let a center shoot. Today just happened to be a good day I guess.”Early in the second half, it looked like the Badgers might run away with it, jumping out to a 7-point lead with 13:01 remaining to play. Over the same stretch, the Boilermakers had scored only four points. But after a big defensive rebound by Moore with under 12 minutes to play, sophomore guard John Hart grabbed one of his own on the offensive glass and put the ball back in, cutting the lead to five points and igniting the crowd of 14,123.Purdue stayed hot, going on a 10-2 run to make it 48-40, and put Wisconsin in a big hole with 6:47 to play.Nankivil answered for Wisconsin, however, hitting three times from long distance to give UW the 1-point lead with 42 seconds remaining. He finished the night with a career-high 25 points.Unfortunately for the Badgers, they were not able to hang on.“We were right there, fought back and had the lead with 20, 30 seconds left,” Taylor said. “We couldn’t get that one stop and we couldn’t hit the shot on the other end, but sometimes that’s just the way the ball bounces.”last_img read more