Strong second half guides Wisconsin past Purdue

Chicago, IL ( - Bronson Koenig scored 19 points to lead No. 6 Wisconsin in a 71-51 rout of Purdue in the semifinals of the Big Ten Conference Tournament.

Nigel Hayes posted 15 points, six rebounds and five assists and Sam Dekker also gave 15 points with eight rebounds for the Badgers (30-3), who will play Michigan State in Sunday's title game.

"My teammates and coaches have done a good job giving me confidence," said Koenig. "I'm just trying to do anything I can to make us better and help us win."

Wisconsin last made the tournament final in 2013, when it lost to Ohio State. The school will be looking for its third Big Ten title and first since defeating Illinois in 2008.

A.J. Hammons had 10 points and seven rebounds to guide the Boilermakers (21-12), who had defeated Penn State in the quarters on Friday.

"The problem with playing Wisconsin is when you have those bad starts and you allow them to get their head up ... it can snowball in a hurry," said Purdue coach Matt Painter.

Trailing by five to start the second half, Wisconsin ripped off 14 of the first 17 points and owned a 44-38 lead on a Dekker layup six minutes in.

A 3-point play from P.J. Thompson got the Boilermakers back within two at 46-44, but Frank Kaminsky's jumper kicked off a 13-0 Wisconsin run that was finished on a pair of Zak Showalter free throws, giving the Badgers a 59-44 lead with just over six minutes to play.

Rapheal Davis stopped the bleeding with a layup, but Kaminsky answered with a dunk before a Koenig jumper made it a 17-point game with four minutes to play.

Wisconsin continued to lead by double-digits for the rest of the contest.

The Badgers held an early lead in the first half, but consecutive 3-pointers from Kendall Stephens followed by a basket by Davis gave Purdue a 14-10 lead.

Purdue twice held a seven-point lead before a run from the Badgers saw them tie the game at 30-30 on a Hayes layup with 1:09 left in the half. However, Hammons countered with a jumper, and a 3-ball from Thompson just before the buzzer gave Purdue a 35-30 lead at the break.

Game Notes

Purdue was looking to go to the finals for the third time and first since 2009, when it defeated Ohio State for its only championship ... Thompson and Stevens each posted nine points ... Kaminsky finished with 12 points, five boards and five assists ... Wisconsin shot 47.3 percent and dominated the glass, 35-27.