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Johnson helps Purdue pick up first Big Ten victory

Jan 12, 2009 - 12:30 AM WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (Ticker) -- JaJuan Johnson and Purdue finally played with a sense of urgency, and it resulted in the Boilermakers' first Big Ten Conference win of the season.

Johnson scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds Sunday, leading 14th-ranked Purdue to a 65-52 triumph over Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

The preseason favorite to win the Big Ten, Purdue (12-4, 1-2 Big Ten) dropped back-to-back tough games to open conference play, losing in overtime to Illinois on December 30 before dropping a three-point decision at Penn State this past Tuesday.

But the Boilermakers looked like the Big Ten's best team against the Badgers (12-4, 3-1), racing to a 14-point lead in the first half and never looking back.

In a contest when leading scorer E'Twaun Moore struggled, Johnson picked up the slack for Purdue. The 6-10 sophomore hauled in four offensive rebounds, shot 8-of-10 from the floor and made 4-of-6 free throws to finish one point off his career high.

"We had to establish ourselves by getting some defensive rebounds and getting some offensive rebounds and getting easy putbacks," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "I thought JaJuan did a nice job early on getting some put backs and easy shots."

Robbie Hummel, who missed Tuesday's game due to back spasms, scored 16 points for the Boilermakers, who used a stifling defense to end Wisconsin's 13-game conference winning streak.

The preseason Big Ten Player of the Year, Hummel played just 12 minutes in the first half and admitted he was still hampered by his balky back.

"The first half, I was a little iffy," said Hummel, who played a total of 28 minutes. "The adrenaline kicked in."

Moore scored a season-low four points on 1-of-12 shooting. But the Boilermakers received solid contributions from reserves Marcus Green, who had eight points and seven rebounds, and Chris Kramer, who also missed Tuesday's contest due to a foot injury.

"Rob plays 28 minutes and Kramer 21, and they don't turn the basketball over," Painter said. "We're a much better team with those guys.

"We still have a lot of great players on the team. It was a great challenge for us to play without them, and you just have to learn to do your best with the guys you have."

Joe Krabbenhoft scored 13 points for the Badgers, who shot just 37.5 percent (21-of-56) from the floor.

Wisconsin, which made just 6-of-20 3-pointers and attempted only six free throws, faced a 27-13 deficit with 4:37 left in the first half.

But the Badgers made their last four shots of the first half, including a pair of 3-pointers, to enter the break trailing, 32-26.

Wisconsin clawed within 34-30 early in the second half before Purdue went on an 18-6 run over a seven-minute span to push its lead back to 52-36.